Thursday 4 March 2021

Alternative books and stories for reaching young and teen readers #ChaBooCha

Image by Thorsten Frenzel from Pixabay

This past year, while not going out as much due to the pandemic, I found myself being drawn to other types of stories and other story mediums. Most of my children are avid readers, all except for one. She gets bored when reading normal length novels, even the shorter ones aimed at younger readers, and from when she was about ten years old until now, she has preferred reading manga and graphic novels. I've always been of the mindset that, as long as she's reading, no matter what format she is reading in or what genre, it's a good thing. 

Manga is defined in the Oxford English dictionary as "a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, typically aimed at adults as well as children." (A graphic novel is simply defined as a novel in comic strip format.) Now, it's true that some of these manga comics have very adult themes, but there are also many aimed at younger audiences. My daughter is fifteen and has been buying herself the Black Butler series by Yana Toboso recently.

Many manga comics and graphic novels get their start in webtoons. A webtoon is a series of comics published online. (Some of these manga comics and webtoons eventually lead to anime cartoons, but, for the sake of this challenge, we are focused on writing for children and teens.) There are some free sites for reading webtoons, such as Webtoons, when they get a strong following, can often lead to publishing deals for manga books and graphic novels.

There are also books called light novels. According to Wikipedia, a
 light novel is "a style of Japanese young adult novel primarily targeting high school and middle school students. Light novels are commonly illustrated in a manga art style, and are often adapted into manga and anime." Light novels are usually shorter and they also contain few illustrations. They also tend to be easier to read.

Another type of book that middle school and highschool children (as well as adults) tend to like are D&D books. D&D stands for Dungeons & Dragons which is a table-top fantasy role-playing game. Each player gets to create their own character to play during the game, from fantasy characters to human, including their players skill sets, magic abilities, ancestry and background. Often, the one in charge of the game, the dungeon master, has to write up an extensive story for the game with several options as to where the story may lead based on the choices and the dice-roll of the players. There are many books out there to help with the creation of characters, foes, and worlds, as well as dungeon master guides and so forth. This leads to an endless possibility of book topics to compliment game-playing.

I'm listing off some of these different book types because they are not the ones we regularly think about when we think about writing for kids and teens. As much as I would love to write some graphic novels, I have no artistic skill so, if I ever decided to do so, I'd have to find a willing artist who could work well with my vision for the stories. But I know a lot of you in this challenge are already skilled artists, so when it comes graphic novels and manga, this is a route you might think about when writing your book.

As always, happy writing!



Today's prize is a copy The Ancient Magus' Bride Vol. 1 by Kore Yamazaki. All you need to do to be entered into the drawing for this prize is be a signed-up member of ChaBooCha and comment on this blog post. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator and will be announced on the 7th of March 2021, and the book will be sent out as soon as I am contacted by the winner with the correct address to send it to. If this book is not available at the time of purchase, an alternative manga book may be sent in its place.


  1. Many of the D&D books are great for creative writing prompts too.

  2. In another life, as a school librarian, students introduced me to manga books, and I was hooked. What I loved best was that my manga readers always checked out and read non-manga books, too.

  3. My teen loves D&D and has just started reading Manga & other graphic novels. They are a great way to get teens reading

  4. I didn’t know about the different types of graphic novels. Thank you for sharing about manga readers.

  5. Thanks for sharing, so many types of books put there

  6. So many choices these days! Sometimes it is hard to decide which format will work the best. I have a GN that I am now trying to reformat as a chapter book. Thank you for your post!

  7. More webinars and groups are popping up to support the growing need for GN. I just came across a FB group that you can request to join -

  8. Both my son and DIL are huge manga fans. Both also work in the health industry...he's a traveling RN and she's a traveling some of these other types of books might work better with their incredibly busy schedules.

    Great post!