Simply put, manga is the Japanese word for comics. Literally translated, it means "whimsical pictures."
Like American comics, manga is a sequential storytelling format in which both images and words are equally
important to the narrative, though sometimes the images carry more weight.
Manga is big business in Japan. In fact, manga accounts for 40 percent of the country's printed material and is published in just about every genre imaginable. It's even used to teach in classrooms!
Most of what's published in the United States is intended for adults, but manga is becoming increasingly popular with American children. VIZ Media created the VIZ Kids imprint to serve this growing audience.
Manga reads from right to left.
VIZ Media publishes manga in the original Japanese format in order to preserve the orientation of the original artwork.
It's hard to know exactly why kids like manga, but there are several things that make it appealing for young readers:
Let's face it. With all the sound effects and detailed art, comics are cool. But the art is more than just fun to look at. It provides context cues and supports the text to help aid reading comprehension.
This definitely adds to the cool factor, especially because manga is read in a specific, nontraditional way. But more than that, manga introduces students to an important part of Japanese culture.
In Japan, manga series inspire anime, video games and lots of other merchandise. The anime and games often make it to the United States before the manga does, so by the time American children read the comics, they're already devoted fans of the characters.
All VIZ Kids manga feature children or childlike characters confronting the world in extraordinary ways. Whether defending their friends, fighting for something they believe in, or just trying to be the best at what they love, children are the heroes of every story.
Many manga especially those intended for children feature very involved narratives that can be used to enhance any reading comprehension lesson. Because manga is a form of sequential storytelling, it is ideal for lessons about story structure and sequencing. Most manga series feature well-defined characters, making them ideal for compare-and-contrast exercises and exercises that ask students to predict how characters might react in certain situations. The introduction of manga into the literacy curriculum suggests a number of innovative teaching possibilities.
Because manga is a visual storytelling medium, children's manga offer more visual support than, say, traditional chapter books, even though the reading levels are about the same. In other words, more challenging vocabulary can be introduced in manga because the format offers richer context cues to help readers figure out the meanings of new words.
Check out our list of great manga and manga-inspired titles!
Action and Adventure
Voltron Force® graphic novels
Pokémon Black & White
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Adventures manga
Pokémon Adventures manga
Legend of Zelda manga
Naruto chapter books
Dragon Ball chapter books
Humor and Fun
Games and Play
Be sure to check our release calendar for more titles and updates.
VIZ Kids offers engaging manga and manga-related content intended specifically for a younger audience. All VIZ Kids products share the same core values of strong storytelling, eye-popping graphics, empowering themes, and lots of good humor to capture the imagination of a whole new generation.
Leave it to PET! Volume 1
"...an undeniable winner that kids won't be able to resist sharing with their peers...and parents."
Peter Gutiérrez, School Library Journal
"Leave it to PET! Will appeal to eight-to-ten-year-olds with its slapstick humor and bold, cartoonish style. Highly recommended."
Katherine Dacey, Good Comics for Kids, School Library Journal
"With its simple but appealing artwork and kid-friendly gags, Leave it to PET! is probably the wackiest eco-conscious comic you'll ever read. Leave it to PET! is meant for kids, but even the most jaded grown-up manga reader will find themselves giggling at PET and his quirky recycled robot pals. A refreshingly fun children's comic that's clever enough for older readers too."
Deb Aoki, About.com
Named one of the "Best Comics for Tweens 2009" by Good Comics for Kids, School Library Journal.
Dinosaur Hour Volume 1
"...it is without question a credit to the artist how convincingly he is able to bring all of these different dinosaurs to vivacious, chattering life page after page. There are even some brilliant sight gags; the velociraptor's feathered appearance alone is worth the price of admission. Who would have thought that Jurassic Park could be such a fun-filled playland?"
Casey Brienza, Graphic Novel Reporter
"The script has a delightful, tongue-in-cheek quality that's nicely complimented by copious sight gags and exaggerated reaction shots. Budding paleontologists aged seven and up will enjoy Dinosaur Hour. Highly recommended."
Katherine Dacey, Good Comics for Kids, School
Named one of the "Best Comics for Young Readers 2009" by Good Comics for Kids, School Library Journal.
ChocoMimi Volume 1
"ChocoMimi is a title that would make a good addition to both elementary and middle school libraries. The emphasis on friendship and getting along is a message everyone can agree with."
Lori Henderson, Good Comics for Kids, School
Happy Happy Clover Volume 1
"Happy Happy Clover is a cute, fun read that's most likely to appeal to girls who have outgrown Beatrix Potter."
Katherine Dacey, Good Comics for Kids, School
"Libraries looking for manga for elementary-age readers, as opposed to "all-ages" titles that are really more appealing to middle-school patrons, will be excited by this new offering and should expect requests for the second volume of Clover's adventures."
Snow Wildsmith, Booklist
Named one of the "Best Comics for Young Readers 2009" by Good Comics for Kids, School Library Journal