Thursday, July 18, 2013

Manga in the Middle School Library

Since becoming librarian I've increased our collection of manga and my students are so happy about it. It is one of the first things that student visitors comment on when they come to the library.  Most middle school libraries do not have many of these series. I think that the majority of librarians do not purchase them because they do not like them or do not believe it is "real" reading. I'll admit that they are not my favorite genre, but my students like them so I buy them and try to stay up to date.
If you are willing to give manga a try these are a few series I recommend. I also suggest visiting your nearest comic book store. Make friends with the owner and get their advice before purchasing a series to make sure it is age appropriate.

I have other series in the library, but these are the most popular. So popular in fact that many of my "manga boys", as I call them, run frantically into the library when changing classes to get the next in the series. Isn't that the passion for reading that we want to see in all of our students? It doesn't matter whether you like that genre or not.

Do you have any manga? Is it popular? What series do you have?


  1. I love graphic novels, but manga, not so much (I don't like anime either). However I know that many students love this Japanese style and it is a must-have in the library.
    Since I'm going into a new media center, I'm not sure what's popular, but the previous media specialist has invested in the Avatar series and Warrior series. I will test out the waters with some of the other series that are recommended here and in our Twitter chat later.

    I do want to ask, do you ever have problems with the cussing and sometimes scantily clad female characters? Or rather, do you hear complaints from parents or teachers?

    Also, do you teach students how to read them on a one-by-one basis as they check them out? Or do you conduct a lesson on how to read manga?

    1. I haven't had any complaints yet, but the librarian before me had one of our teachers complain. The women do tend to be voluptuous and scantily clad, but they are drawn so cartoonish. Book challenges are horrible because I hate confrontation and the stress of it, but I do the best I can to choose age appropriate things and encourage parents to set stricter limits on their own children if they want.
      I don't teach them how to read them. All of the ones I've seen have a little instruction page included and their friends show them how. That's another reason I don't read many. It confuses my brain to read that way:)

    2. What do you know of Hikaru no Go? I bought a set chiefly because Follett had them classified as for grades 5-8. I'm a bit nervous because we're just starting out with manga.

  2. Maybe it's something about grown-up brains, but I find the Manga style graphic novels to be difficult to read, too. I like your suggestion of talking to a comic book store owner about content appropriateness. My students like the One Piece series, but always want more. To be honest, my problem isn't with the content or the format, but the bindings! I hate having a book that expensive that disintegrates so quickly.

  3. I am in an elementary school library, so I have a ton of graphic novels, but not as much manga. There aren't as many that have age-appropriate content. The only manga series I have is Pokemon and Hikaru and they are loved. Hikaru is almost exclusively gets checked out by boys. Kiddos that don't understand how manga works don't often check it out even after I have explained. It's still a bit too much for some of them to try and read in a different direction. There are kiddos that absolutely love it though and take on the challenge, even in third grade, because they love Pokemon.

  4. That's good to hear Tamara. I avoid confrontation as much as possible as well :)
    Monique, I agree with you about the bindings. The books are typically thick, but with flimsy bindings, meaning that I usually spend a lot of time trying to glue them back together.
    Crystal, I was in an elementary library for 2 years and the boys always asked for Pokemon & Beyblade books. I was disappointed to find that the only ones were manga, but I got them anyway and taught a few of them how to read it. The older boys picked up on it quickly and shared their newfound knowledge with their friends. I don't think the younger students ever 'got it,' but they still really liked to "read" the Pokemon & Beyblade books :)

  5. This is my first year as a media specialist in a middle school. Even though I am not very familiar with Manga, I purchased a few books because I suspected my students would like them. The LOVED them! I am a little wary about purchasing more simply because they are listed as young adult. So far I have Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Tsubasa. I see they are all pictured above. Do you feel that these series are appropriate for middle school? Thanks!

  6. I had Hikaru in my library and saw no issues with content so you should be good with that series.