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Choosing Kid-Friendly Comics & Manga

By: Iggi at the Republic Branch Library







The Library’s comic sections are growing all the time, and one of the biggest contributors is the rising popularity of manga. Manga (pronounced ma-N-Ga) is a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels. Some of the most popular series at our libraries include the super-powered smash-hit for teens "My Hero Academia" and the "Pokemon Adventures" comics for kids and middle-schoolers. Like other comics and graphic works, manga can be written for adults as well as children in a wide variety of genres from romance to action and everywhere in between.

From just looking at the flashy or cute covers of different manga, it can be tough to tell which audience they’re written for, but the good news is, manga distributed by most major publishers has a rating on the back. If you look at the book’s back cover, which will have the binding on the left, you can often find a rating in the form of a letter with a circle or box around it. The ratings include “A for All Ages,” “T for Teen,” “T+ for Older Teen,” and “M for Mature.” For specific information on the rating criteria of these marks, check the publisher’s website.

Unfortunately, comics published in other parts of the world don’t have ratings that are so easy to spot. Discerning their intended audience takes a little more investigation. For example, we have Spider-man comics in the kids, teen, and adult sections of our libraries! 

However, any item you check out from any of our libraries will have a white sticker on the spine that indicates what section the item came from, the genre and the author’s name. If a spine label says “J COMIC”, we house that item in the children's section near the middle-grade chapter books. Spine labels that say “Y COMIC” are located in the young adult or teen section of a branch. If a spine label just says “COMIC,” followed by the author’s name, that item will be located with other books in the adult section.

Lots of kids prefer comics, graphic novels and manga. For some it’s personal taste, for others, the format makes reading more accessible. For parents unfamiliar with the formats, choosing titles appropriate for your kids can be difficult. Hopefully, these tips help inform and empower you and your child to make the best choices about what cool new comics to read! And remember, the children’s librarians are always willing to provide help and guidance. 

Questions or need more ideas? Email