Bring on the Manga!

By Penny Kittle and Meg Murphy

We have a group of 5th and 6th graders at Conway Elementay School working on what they want to order. They are reviewing titles and thinking about where the Manga Collection will go… how they will teach other kids how to read Manga, and most importantly, why they believe Manga is an essential new addition to the school library.

We met with 13 students about their wish list for the Manga library. New kids have joined the group since our first meeting—a positive sign! Meg and I talked about the diversity of kids in the room… wonderful to see.

Students were in groups of three to four working on how many of each title they want to order. Meg created a Google form with the cost and availability of the titles first on their lists. Students had to solve problems with math to figure out the total cost they want to spend—and it was wonderful to watch them helping each other and imagining how popular this small collection will be. They read reviews of books they haven’t read (classics like Anne of Green Gables are now offered in Manga form and the students are interested in them.)

Many students are interested in drawing Manga characters, so they plan to purchase two copies of “How to Draw Manga”… they also want to subscribe to ComicBooks—a subscription that allows access 24/7 online and all summer. This is $775 and was not included in the library budget, so this is a nice opportunity to bring it back. Students LOVE it. During the Covid lockdown Meg connected it to a virtual visit from a comic books artist. Students at CES even produced a school wide comics newspaper!

Meg sat with our independent book store owner to go over prices before the meeting. We considered also going to BAM, which is a chain, but has a larger collection and perhaps access to the titles our independent book store said were unavailable. We encouraged students to stop by the store and check out their collection this weekend.

Between our last two meetings both Meg and I have been reading Manga. I finished my first one, and it was harder than I expected. It stretched me, for sure. 

Student Survey

Fifty-five 5th and 6th grade students answered a survey regarding Manga in the library. 

Here is a snapshot of their responses:

Student survey responses.
Do you have anything else you want to share about manga, comics, or graphic novels?
I think they are cool and will be a great addition to the library
i like comics and anime so BOOM Manga
Graphic novels are better in my opinion
I think that it would be in the YA books because most of them have swears.
They are read lefty so be aware of that
I think that Mangas are very interesting if you like anime. I really hope we can have a collection in our library.
i like Manga and we should get some
most mMangas have blood

10 students signed up to help create a Manga Collection.


The Students’ Manga Text Recommendations

Yuzu the Pet Vet
Cheese Sweet Home
Sugar Princess: Skating to Win
Yokai Watch
Leave it to Pet
Fluffy Fluffy Cinnamoroll


Viz Kids from Viz Media LLC
Pokemon, Zelda

Things to consider

Processing of collection
Placement of collection
Cultural differences
Student centered – how do we ensure we are meeting our readers’ needs?

© 2022 Penny Kittle and Meg Murphy