Anne of Green Gables
L. M. Montgomery
This classic story of a girl growing up has been beautifully adapted into manga format. Anne Shirley, a precocious orphan girl, was sent to the Cuthberts’ home of Green Gables by accident. The Cuthberts, siblings Marilla and Matthew, were hoping to adopt a boy to help around the farm, but they got Anne instead, a girl full of imagination and spunk. Readers will fall in love with Anne's outgoing, bubbly personality, and root for her to achieve her dreams despite the gender roles and stereotypes she is up against.
Fans of the classic novel
Ascendance of a Bookworm
In a past life, a bookworm is crushed to death by her beloved books, and she finds herself reincarnated into the body of a very young, very frail, little girl in a world still in its Middle Ages. Parchment is rare and expensive, and almost no one is taught how to read. All she wants in her new life is to be able to read a book, but the rarity of the items and skills makes this a very daunting task for young Myne. Through her adventures of recreating clay tablets and papyrus, to her training for one of the few professions that require reading books, Myne learns to appreciate the people in her new life, as well as some other things that are not books. Myne is a sweet character that readers can connect with and root for, even though the odds are horribly stacked against her.
Bookworms, fans of fantasy manga
Sakura is a 4th grader who loves sports and hanging out with her best friend Tomoyo, who dresses her up in custom-made outfits. She also is a magical girl, bound to capture all of the Clow cards that have escaped and are causing mischief. When not stopping flower hurricanes or sneaking into museums to steal paintings, she's helping out around the house and sorting out her feelings about her brother's friend, Yukito. All in a day's work for a magical girl!
While the covers are very flowery, and the art tends towards frilly, the story covers adventures of creative thinking, ghosts, and magical creatures. There's humor, but also darkness, and the magic is just cool, so this appeals to any reader looking for a more fashionable adventure story or a romance story that also has feats of derring-do.
There is a subplot that implies a teacher is dating one of his students, and significant age gaps in relationships, in general, are seen. Also, the main character's mother is deceased, for readers sensitive to that topic.
Cells at Work: Baby
A spin-off of the original Cells at Work series, this one focuses on cells inside a baby's body. We open up on the tiny cells receiving oxygen deliveries from the mother's cells, but tremors throughout the building announce the birthing process has started. Once the baby is on its own, the series goes through how the mother continues to support the baby cells, like transferring immunity-boosting information through milk. The baby cells have to learn how to do their jobs and keep their body alive, but it's amazing how much information these cells all seem to have, all from genetic coding passed down from the parents! There is a lot of scientific information in this series, so this would be awesome for readers who want a primer on how the body works. Just like Cells at Work, the body is presented as a large factory, so no actual body parts are shown as the cells navigate the "hallways" and built-in bureaucracy of navigating their tasks.
Readers who are interested in science, biology, and the human body. It's also extremely funny, so fans of humor manga will also appreciate this (and maybe learn some science along the way).
Chi's Sweet Home
Chi is a rambunctious kitten, as her adoptive family (young son, mother, and father) quickly finds out when they add her to their no-pets apartment. Her random antics in and out of their abode will have readers either recognizing their own cat or feeling relieved Chi is not their responsibility.
Cat lovers, pet lovers
There is one instance of mild adult language, but this is otherwise suitable for all ages
Fluffy, Fluffy Cinnamonroll
Cinnamoroll is a very special puppy who can fly by flapping his long ears. He lives at a sweet shop called Café Cinnamon and loves to hang out with his puppy friends. Together, they have lots of whimsical adventures!
Fans of puppies and cute things; readers who want sweet, feel-good adventures
Giant Spider and Me
This is the sweetest story full of potential but not actually messy ingredients. The giant spider is more like a teddy bear. The POV protagonist, Nagi, lives on her own in a post-apocalyptic world, but the focus of the story is about how she gets by and the food she prepares for herself. An inventive setting within the slice of life genre.
Fans of post-apocalypse stories, cooking, giant pets, survival
A character points a rifle at the spider in the third volume
Hana-chan and the Shape of the World
Buckle up for Hana's adventures in her small town! From quests for rations in the middle of a typhoon to robots in a field, this collection of short adventures will delight and befuddle you.
Readers who enjoy the whimsy of Studio Ghibli movies and Yotsuba's absurd humor may want to check this out.
There are a couple of scary parts that may be unnerving for some readers. There is a section where characters are drawn with monstrous features. There's also one set in an old, abandoned house where there's a futon with dark stains; it's not clear if there's actually blood. Neither part goes into full-on horror though.
Hikaru no Go
Sixth-grader Hikaru is haunted by the ghost of an ancient Go player who wants Hikaru to find skilled opponents in the timeless board game. Hikaru becomes interested in the game, and in the process, he includes making a name for himself in a gaming scene replete with colorful characters and competitive egos.
Gamers, fans of intense rivalries
Kirby Manga Mania
Kirby, Nintendo's videogame and cartoon mascot, stars in his very own manga! Kirby is a pink puffball who can inhale an astounding amount of matter and use all kinds of abilities. Kirby and the extended cast from the games, including many anthropomorphic animals and unique creatures, get into chaotic adventures from chapter to chapter. Slapstick, sight gags, and funny faces are stuffed into each page.
The endlessly silly, Nintendo fans, Saturday morning cartoon addicts
Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time
Young hero Link must master magical weapons and tools, defeat monsters, and save the kingdom of Hyrule. This series includes two 2-volume stories and six stand-alone adventures, each based on one of the Legend of Zelda video games. This volume is a reissue that combines the first two books: Ocarina of Time Part 1 and Ocarina of Time Part 2.
Fans of video games, fans of classic swords-and-sorcery-type fantasy
There is violence, as Link fights a lot of monsters.
Plum is a cat with eyes readers will get lost in. Her family (a single mother with a teenage son) adopts a new kitten, Snowball, and jealousy ensues. Plum is friends with several neighborhood cats, each an example of different cat behaviors, and the humans are loving cat caregivers.
Cat lovers, pet lovers
Pokémon are amazing creatures with all kinds of abilities, and many people keep them as pets or assistants. Others train Pokémon to battle each other, competing to be the strongest. This long series - really a collection of connected series - follows various trainers as they raise and learn about Pokémon, befriend other trainers, and battle criminals who would use the creatures for evil.
Note: If the whole series is too intimidating, there are several stand-alone Pokémon volumes based on the movies. Look for any manga that includes "Pokémon: The Movie" in its title.
Fans of video games, fans of fantasy action, and battle scenes
Pokémon fight. A lot. Some of the battles in the manga - especially early volumes - are more brutal than fans of the video games and movies might expect.
Sue and Tai-chan
Witch Hat Atelier
Coco lives with her mother and dreams of being a witch. One day, she stumbles upon the secret of magic and accidentally turns her mother into a stone statue! She's taken in by Qifrey, a master witch, and joins his Atelier with three other students, and hopes to learn enough magic to change her mother back. But, there's something different about Coco, and the world of magic is not as bright and shiny as Coco once thought. The art is exceptionally beautiful and detailed, with lots of full-page splashes and some two-page spreads that captivate and pull readers into this rich world. The mystery of how magic might be different and dark is hinted at throughout and tantalizing, so readers will keep going, hoping to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Fans of fantasy, magic, adventure stories, and complex worlds
When Yotsuba moves to a new neighborhood, she immediately wanders off only to create a massive misunderstanding with her new neighbors who just want to help her get home After that impressive introduction, each volume takes the reader through Yotsuba's further adventures. From broken locks to trips to the zoo, and more, Yotsuba's adventures will have you grinning and laughing.
In addition to a spirited lead with a great supporting cast and tons of quirky adventures, Azuma has a knack for portraying the story and characters in a way that is funny to both kids and adults. As a result, this is truly a graphic novel that will appeal to all ages. Give this to kids who are looking for wacky, slice-of-life hijinks!