Graphic Novels and Manga

A Parent’s Guide to Collections for Youth


Irving Public Library’s youth collections (also referred to as juvenile or children’s) are divided into collection areas based on the target age of the reader, the number of words in the book, reading level, and/or the subject matter. Items are placed in areas of the collection based on the publisher and author’s intended audience, and review source recommendations. An item’s placement in a collection allows for the organization of resources and provides viewpoint-neutral guidance to users. It is not intended to imply that every item in that collection will be of interest to or relevant to the collection’s intended user. Becoming familiar with the definitions and intended usage of each collection is a good way for parents and caregivers to stay informed and make the best decisions for the child and family in selecting reading material. This page is a guide to the Graphic Novels and Manga collections for minors, both juveniles and young adults.

Graphic Novels:black panther new background

Juvenile: Ages - 3rd through 8th grade

Young Adult: Ages - 9th grade and up

What: Graphic novels are stories told through words, pictures, and symbols and contain more complex stories than picture books and beginner readers. The fiction titles include many genres such as action/adventure, popular culture, coming of age, superheroes, and others. Nonfiction titles are primarily memoirs or historical retellings. Some titles are as short as beginning readers, longer stories can have 200-300 or more pages, and wordless graphic novels focus on artwork and illustrations. Graphic novels are for recreational reading as well as for imparting learning (as in the case of historical novels and memoirs).

Why: This collection is a wonderful transitional tool for younger readers from picture books and beginning readers to more complex stories. They are known to motivate reluctant readers and instill a sense of accomplishment. Readers see diverse characters directly on the page and can recognize different skin tones, ethnicities and cultures. Children learn complex storytelling techniques such as using images and colors to display tone, to using thought and speech bubbles to express characters’ feelings. Graphic novels are also beneficial for English as a second language learners and adults who are learning to read.

What parents should know: There are many different types of stories told in graphic novels. Some graphic novels are fun and tell an engaging fictional story with much color and humor. Others depict violence and may include subjects such as sex, death and dying, or as in the case of some historical retellings, war and politics. Since the age range covered by these collections is so wide, not every book will be of interest or helpful to every child and not every subject will align with all family values. This is why reading lists (and librarian recommendations!) focused on your child’s specific age and reading level can be very helpful.


Juvenile: Ages - 3rd through 8th grade

Young Adult: Ages - 9th grade and up

What: Manga is a style of graphic novel/comic originating from Japan. Many stories feature action and adventure, shown through a combination of illustrations, text, and symbols, and usually in black and white. Manga is typically published as a series with many volumes, allowing readers to follow these adventures for years. Manga introduces children to a new style of reading, from right to left, as opposed to the traditional style of reading in the English language from left to right. Volumes are also read from back to front and introduce children to the Japanese culture.

Why: Manga is known for stories that are dramatic, playful, and stylized to express high stakes and emotions, making them great for pleasure reading. There are a wide variety of subjects and materials in manga. Popular anime programs are adapted from manga series, and fans love to compare the two. Manga often tell stories based on folklore and everyday customs from Japan that can teach readers about different cultures.

What parents should know: Manga stories can also be seen on television in an animated format called Anime. Many children start watching the television programs and then branch into reading the books. Parents may want to review these books because they can be more graphic in subject matter and presentation. There may be scenes depicting violence and containing sexual references. Because the books tell stories in a picture format not every book will be of interest or helpful to every child and not all subjects will align with all family values. This is why reading lists (and librarian recommendations!) focused on your child’s specific age and reading level can be very helpful.

Resources for reviews and information on contents

  • Library Catalog – examine the description of the book, check the attached review sources, review Novelist
  • Read the book and/or the book jacket
  • Ask for assistance at a library service desk 
  • Engage with LibChat on the Irving Public Library website
  • Visit free websites that also review the materials/books (sign-up may be required)

Reader reviews:

Library/Bookstore perspectives:

Parent perspectives:

Library Card Holder options and circulation

Anyone with a library card can check out materials from our library. For a child to obtain a library card, a parent must bring the child into the library and sign for the child’s card. The Irving Public Library’s policy has long been that the library does not operate “in LOCO parentis,” that is we do not employ restrictions and controls that are a parent’s prerogative. Options for parents who would like to be involved in decisions as to what their child reads:

  • Allow the child to have their own card and insert the parent email in the registration form so that checked out items can be viewed by the parent.
  • Allow the child to have their own card and record the child’s account number and PIN to check the child’s library account.
  • Only obtain one card and use this for the family.