BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

My Neighbor Seki [Tonari no Seki-Kun] (vol. 1) by Takuma Morishige, translated by Yoshito Hinton

My Neighbor Seki by Takuma Morishige on BookDragonOkay, so parents might not be so thrilled about dealing with classroom distractions, but when this much imagination is involved, sometimes tossing rules and regulations aside can be very conducive to learning – in less traditional ways. Not that I’m encouraging this sort of behavior, ahem!

Meet Seki. He drives his next-desk classmate Yokoi more than a bit crazy because, as Yokoi observes, he’s “always goofing around during class.” Meanwhile, she’s she’s just trying her very best to be a good student.

What Yokoi calls ‘goofing’ might also be described as creative genius. As soon as a teacher’s back is turned, Seki lets loose with one spectacle after another. In first period, he’s got a Rube Goldberg-esque dominoes contraption with a private fireworks display; in second, a military battle ensues; in third, he turns polishing into mirror-making art; in fourth, he enacts a territorial dispute with sand and spritzer; in fifth, a solo game of go devolves into a character clash … and the day goes on for many more playfully disruptive periods to come.

Yokoi, of course, can’t turn away. Somehow, Seki manages to stay under the teachers’ radars, but not Yokoi. For every new adventure Seki creates, Yokoi seems to be the one who gets in trouble for not paying attention, not being prepared, not having the expected answers.

Rote schoolwork or imagination gone rampant? Which option would you choose …? With so much fun going on, if you can’t ignore them, the only next step is to join them, right?

Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult

Published: 2011 (Japan), 2015 (United States)


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