Considered too violent by some, too sexual by others, manga has long had a bad reputation. And this perception still persists today, much to the chagrin of elementary school teachers who have chosen this literature from Japan to introduce young people to reading. Successfully.
Posted at 6:15 am
For as long as he can remember, Kevin Martins Sousa has always read manga. “When he was a kid, manga was banned at school, so he hid them in novels so he could read them in class! So it was only natural that the graduate professor at Montreal’s Le Vitrail school would pass on his passion to his students… completely legally.
So he filled his class library with choice albums like naruto, Murderer of demons Where One piece. “Manga is really part of my DNA as a teacher. I use manga characters in educational sheets, I use this universe for math problems…”
Charlotte Manus, 12, saw her interest in manga increase tenfold when she joined Kevin Martins Sousa’s class. “In my other classes, there was no manga in the libraries. With Kevin I discovered complete series, like Death Note Where The attack of the Titans. »
Charlotte was already an avid reader, and despite her interest in manga, she also reads a lot of novels. But not all students are like her, recalls Kevin Martins Sousa. Hence the importance of presenting students with a varied selection of reading materials, in order to encourage them to read a little or a lot. “It’s better to read manga than not to read anything at all,” says the teacher. Some youngsters who refused to read got hooked on manga. »
One day, students will read classic novels because they have discovered the pleasure of reading with manga. I see all the benefits that manga brings to the motivation to read.
Kevin Martins Sousa
Julie Turcotte, teacher of 6me year at Jolis-Prés primary school in Laterrière also found this year that group manga reading had a beneficial effect on children’s interest, particularly boys, but also girls who were repulsed by the reading. “When we read samurai 8, the young people liked it. We had to read only 4 pages and finally, we read 20! »
Amélie Jean-Louis, president and CEO of O-Taku bookstores, is not surprised to hear this. Over the past two years, she has seen more and more teachers come to buy items at the salon on rue Saint-Denis in Montreal, or at one of the eight partner bookstores dotted around Quebec.
However, not everyone jumped on the manga bandwagon. This literary genre still has its share of detractors, who blame it in particular for a certain violent bent. “You have to choose the titles you read carefully. Yes, sometimes there are fights, but not more than in Asterix or Tintin”, says Kevin Martins Sousa. “Violence is never gratuitous,” adds Amélie Jean-Louis. The level of violence is lower than what young people see in movies. »
Rather, the manga conveys values that are fair and beautiful, these two enthusiasts say. Fraternity, perseverance, courage, the importance of going after your dreams and cultivating your difference, in particular.
Contrary to comic books Americans, the manga hero is not a loner. He surrounds himself with a plethora of characters who will help each other.
Amélie Jean-Louis, President and CEO of O-Taku Bookstores
These values resonate favorably with young readers. But there are other reasons for the current enthusiasm among primary school students. For Charlotte Mans, the interest of the manga lies above all in the dialogues. “There is almost never narration. These are always conversations. I also really like the drawings, which are very expressive, with the big eyes of the characters, for example. “Also, chapters always end with a cliffhanger that makes students want to know what’s next,” adds Julie Turcotte.
Despite all these qualities, some teachers are still reluctant to include manga in their teaching kits for the simple reason that they are overwhelmed by the multitude of titles available. Amélie Jean-Louis understands them. She reads every new title that comes into her library, about ten a week! And the titles are as varied as the topics covered: history, adventures, gastronomy, chess, adaptation of literary classics, human biology…
To help teachers, but also parents, get their bearings, O-Taku Lounge has created an SOS Parents page on its website, with gift suggestions for children and teenagers.
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