Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, is in my opinion one of the most important young adult literature novels of our time. Though it is a graphic novel, it tells a story with such power and importance, and in such a beautiful way, I think many High School students would benefit in countless ways from reading this book, negating whatever they might lose from its simplicity of language.
The novel follows a young girl in her experiences with the Iranian revolution. One of my favorite aspects about this graphic novel is how much context it gives its readers. One does not necessarily need to be well-versed in the events of the Iranian revolution to be able to sympathize with the trials the main character must endure and with the entirety of those effected. In this way, I think this book would be extremely beneficial to high school students who, though it would be ideal that they do, usually do not have a strong background in such events, making this novel a much easier read than one that would assume an audience with more knowledge on the subject.
Because of how well the book gives contexts for its events provides yet another reason why this book is so important: it’s a great way to learn about the Iranian revolution. This graphic novel is a fast-paced, relatable, hilarious, and horrifying first-hand account of the peoples’ experience at the time. This is a great way to make students care about something that maybe isn’t taught in schools, and therefore open up to possibility that there is more to learn than high school can teach you. This not only prepares students for college but gives them the chance to want to be more active learners in general.
One final aspect of Persepolis that I surprisingly enjoyed was the fact that it was a graphic novel. Though at first I was apprehensive to consider reading a graphic novel, I am so glad I did, and I don’t think this story would be the same if it were told any other way. The illustrations keep the novel extremely fast-paced, a characteristic I think the author would very much agree is one that reflects the events in the novel perfectly. It also keeps the reader active and engaged in a topic they may very easily know little about, something that is no easy task.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Persepolis. The story of a girl trying to find meaning in her religion, values, government, and identity all at once is one that I think a surprising number of high school students will be able to relate to, despite cultural differences.