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Graphic Novels, Manga, & Anime: Introduction

This guide provides an overview of graphic novels, manga, and anime as well as book lists for recommended reading and related library events.


This guide contains information on the library's collection of graphic novels, comics, manga, and anime. 

This page includes an introduction to graphic novels with key terms, definitions, and recommended books for further reading.

Click on the tabs at the top of the page to view more details about related library events, notable manga titles, popular anime, finding library materials, and general library information. 

Key Terms and Definitions

from Baffling New Adventures: Sherlock Holmes (free public domain, 

What is anime?
Anime are Japanese animated films, which are often derived from manga.

What are comics?
Comics are sequences of images designed to tell a story.  They can be as short as a few panels, such as those found in a newspaper, or can span several pages, such as those found in comic books. 

What are graphic novels?
"Graphic novel" is an American term that refers to book-length comics.  These novels may be several hundred pages in length and tell a self-contained story in comic art format.

What is manga?
Manga are Japanese comics.  The Japanese term "manga" is often used interchangeably with the American term "graphic novel."  However, unlike American comics, manga is read from right to left.   The majority of English translations of manga carry over the original artwork, only replacing the words.  The style of manga artwork is also very distinctive when compared to American comics.

Manga is published in volumes that are approximately the size of a typical paperback novel.  A single manga series may take many volumes to tell a complete story.  Often, a specific series will already have several volumes published in Japan before they are translated and made available in America.   

What are Shōnen and Shōjo?
There are different types of manga that are geared toward specific target audiences. Shōnen is manga aimed at teenage boy readers while Shōjo is manga aimed at teenage girl readers.  Seinen is manga aimed at adult male readers and Josei is manga aimed at adult female readers.  Kodomo is a term applied to manga that is geared to children.

Book Lists, Reviews, & Lesson Plans

The websites listed below are helpful resources for more information on comics and graphic novels.  Features include articles, reviews, core lists, lesson plans, and commentary from librarians, parents, educators, and comics experts. 

The Alvin Sherman Library is not responsible for the content, accuracy, or any other  aspect of external websites.

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