A Starter Manga Set: 15 Titles for Children and Tweens

From “Pokémon” to “Snow White with the Red Hair,” there’s something here for every budding manga fan.


“Yotsuba&!” by Kiyohiko Azuma. Yen Pr.
Gr 2 Up –Yotsuba is a curious, enthusiastic, green-haired little girl (her name means four-leaf clover) who lives with her single father and hangs out with the family next door. Each chapter is a self-contained story about Yotsuba finding joy in some ordinary thing. Yen recently published Vol. 15.

“Chi’s Sweet Home” by Konami Kanata. Vertical.
Gr 2 Up
–A family takes in an orphaned cat, and cuteness and humorous complications ensue in this full-color manga that reads left to right. Complete in four omnibus volumes. Adapted into an animated series and a spin-off, “Chi’s Sweet Adventures.”

“Pokémon” by Hidenori Kusaka, illus. by various. Viz.
Gr 3 Up
–There are a LOT of Pokémon manga. “Pokémon Adventures” is the original series, and several subseries are based on the different games, so watch the subtitles. Many are complete in four or five volumes. Stories based on the movies are usually one volume. Viz is reissuing some older titles as omnibuses.

“Splatoon” by Sankichi Hinodeya. Viz.
Gr 4-6
–This manga is lifted straight from the Nintendo game, with different teams competing to claim their turf by spraying colored ink. The stories have a very Shonen Jump feel, with a variety of personalities, friendships, and rivalries. Ongoing, with 14 volumes so far.

“Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon” by Naoko Takeuchi. Kodansha.
Gr 5 Up
–The original magical girl, Sailor Moon is an ordinary schoolgirl who transforms into a superhero and fights various enemies with the help of her friends, the Sailor Scouts. The series is complete and published in two formats, a 12-volume regular edition in the standard manga format and a 10-volume Eternal Edition with a larger trim size, higher production values, and slightly longer volumes.


“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” by Koyoharu Gotouge. Viz.
Gr 8 Up
–Tanjiro, a poor but plucky teenager, becomes a demon slayer in hopes of finding a cure for his sister, who was bitten by a demon and became one herself. The series is complete in 23 volumes.

“Fruits Basket” by Natsuki Takaya. Yen Pr.
Gr 8 Up
–This story of a sweet but strong-willed girl helping a family escape an ancient curse is a classic. Originally published by Tokyopop as 23 volumes, the series is available from Yen as a Collector’s Edition of 12 two-in-one omnibuses.

“My Hero Academia” by Kohei Horikoshi. Viz.
Gr 8 Up
–In a world where almost everyone is born with a superpower, a late bloomer attends an elite school for superheroes, where he works with the other students to solve problems while enduring bullying and rivalry. Volume 30 came out recently.

“Komi Can’t Communicate” by Tomohito Oda. Viz.
Gr 8 Up
–A timid boy learns that the most beautiful girl in his school is so socially anxious that she is unable to speak, so he becomes her first friend and vows to help her make 99 more. Viz just published vol. 17.

“Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare” by Yuhki Kamatani. Seven Seas.
Gr 8 Up
–Horrified that he has been outed, a high school student is contemplating suicide when he stops to rescue someone else and ends up finding a supportive circle of LGBT+ friends. Four volumes.


“Snow White With the Red Hair” by Sorata Akiduki, illus. by author. Viz.
Gr 8 Up
–A spirited redhead is training as an herbalist in the royal court while juggling the attentions of several eligible males in this shoujo fantasy romance. 17 volumes so far.

“So I’m a Spider, So What?” by Okina Baba, adapted by Asahiro Kakashi. Yen Pr.
Gr 8 Up
–A teenage girl is reincarnated as a spider hatchling and must figure out how to navigate the dungeon and evade predators, with help from some game-like features. Adapted from a series of light novels. Vol. 10 came out in December.

“Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun” by Adairo. Yen Pr.
Gr 8 Up
–A spirit boy and a mortal girl team up to fight evil in their high school. This series has strong humor and horror elements as well as plenty of action. Vol. 14 is scheduled for this month.

“A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow” by Makoto Hagino. Viz.
Gr 8 Up
Two high school girls find love at the aquarium club in this gentle yuri romance. Nine volumes; the last one is out in July.

“Your Lie in April” by Naoshi Arakawa. Kodansha.
Gr 8 Up
–A musical prodigy who has lost his ability to play the piano finds new inspiration when he meets a sprightly violinist in this sweet shonen romance that is complete in 11 volumes.

Unless noted otherwise, all series are ongoing.

Brigid Alverson founded the blog “Good Comics for Kids.”

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