Reluctant Tween Reader? Try Anime

Tweens, children between the ages of 10 and 12, and reading can often be mutually exclusive terms; but they don’t have to be.  If they aren’t outside, tweens, especially male tweens, are generally found playing on video game consoles, cell phone apps, watching cartoons on television or YouTube videos.  So, as a caring parent, what can you do to get these young men to pick up a book and read?  Get them started on a Manga series.

If you don’t know what Manga is, don’t worry, your kids know.  It’s Japanese Anime.  In Japan, 40% of all books sold are a form of Manga.  Naruto, Dragonball Z, and Pokemon are all examples of popular Japanese Anime that can be found here in America not only on television and in video games, but also in Manga.

They may look like just comic books, but they are actually closer to graphic novels with long multi-layered stories and plot-lines.  The artwork is detailed and eye-catching, filled with emotion and action.  It may take a bit to get used to reading Manga since they generally read right to left and back to front, but the kids seem to readily understand it and enjoy the uniqueness (for Americans and other Westerners) of the books.

Here are a few of the most popular Manga book series:

Pokemon Adventures  Based on the video games and debuting in Japan as “Pocket Monsters” in 1997, Pokemon Adventures is the story of “Red”, a young pokemon collector trying to win Badges by battling Gym Leaders in the fictional Kanto Region.  Along the way, he meets both friends and enemies and must deal with both in order to achieve his goals.  Currently there are 51 volumes of this popular series.
Naruto  Released in 2000 and now boasting 69 volumes with more on the way, Naruto is the story of an adolescent ninja with super-human powers out to make a name for himself and protect the world with his friends Sasuke and Sakura.  This series is for more mature children due to the violence and death represented.
Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z  Based on a Chinese novel Journey to the West, this series follows Goku from childhood (Dragon Ball) through adulthood (Dragon Ball Z) as he studies martial arts and circles the globe seeking the seven magical Dragon Balls.  Along the way, he meets up with others seeking the orbs.  Some are friendly; many are not.  There are currently 42 volumes in print.