review: manga guide to the universe
The Manga Guide to the Universe follows the story of two Asian girls and an American girl who are going to be in a school play to save the drama club. After hearing the ancient story of the Bamboo Cutter and his adopted daughter who has to return to the Moon, they are inspired to write a play about the universe.
In order to produce a successful play, they seek out a college Professor as an opportunity to learn more about astronomy. From him they learn the ancient myths about the origin of the universe, as well as the different theories of the geocentric model. They also find out how Galileo discovered (with telescopes he built himself) the satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Venus.
They learn lots of facts like: Galaxies are islands of Light in the void of space, the Big Bang and the Hubble theory, and the Theory of the Multiverse, a compelling possibility that our universe is just one of many universes. There are also many Q and A like: “Why can we see the Milky Way?” and “How Big is the Solar System?” Their final play asks the ultimate question of, “What is at the edge of the universe?” and they take a trip in a space ship to find out the interesting answer as their drama club excels.
In addition to the manga story, The Manga Guide to the Universe also includes more detailed sections with diagrams and explanations. I found it very interesting to have the chance to look beyond myself and gain more understanding about the universe. Plus, reading it in a manga format made it all the more engaging. My daughter immediately started reading it and loved the story aspect, as well as the new addition of color photos. I highly recommend The Manga Guide to the Universe and the whole Manga Guide series to any student, teacher or homeschooling family as a way to make complex topics simpler and much more enjoyable to learn about.
About the Authors:
Kenji Ishikawa is a scientific and technical journalist. He was born in Tokyo in 1958. After graduating from the College of Science at the Tokyo University of Science, he worked as a journalist for a weekly magazine and later became a freelance editor and writer. Besides writing novels and various columns, over the last 20 years, he has also written technical commentaries for general readers and conducted many interviews with leading engineers and researchers. His works cover scientific areas such as electricity, mechanics, aviation, astronomy, devices, materials, chemistry, computers, communication, robotics, and energy.
Kiyoshi Kawabata, PhD, ScD, is a professor emeritus in the Department of Physics, College of Science, at the Tokyo University of Science. Born in the Mie prefecture in 1940, Kawabata graduated from the School of Science, Division of Physics and Astronomy, at Kyoto University in 1964. While working on his doctorate, he studied abroad in the United States and received a PhD in astronomy from Penn State University in 1973. He was also awarded a ScD in astrophysics from Kyoto University. In 1981, he worked as a researcher at Columbia University and then worked for approximately eight years at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. In 1982, he began teaching as an assistant professor in the Department of Physics, College of Science, at the Tokyo University of Science, and he became a full professor there in 1990. He specializes in astrophysics, particularly observational cosmology and radiative transfer theory.