The world of parenthood is a magical, beautiful and often challenging place. It has its highs and its lows, similar to the world of anime. Of course, that’s without the magical outfit changes. Wouldn’t that make getting ready in the morning so much easier?
As a single parent to a 12-year-old son, I sometimes use anime as a way to connect with him. Anime is something we mutually enjoy and is a great medium to discuss subjects without the pressure of feeling too serious. The aim of A Mom’s Guide to Anime is to use anime to help you navigate the world of parenthood.
This month’s focus: Reading! One of the advantages I have as a younger mom is that childhood isn’t as much of a distant memory for me. I remember what it was like to be a kid and the feelings associated with it. That makes it easier to relate to my son as he experiences all of these things.
So, when my son tells me he’s bored, I reply, “Why don’t you read a book?” Growing up in a more analog era, we weren’t as reliant on technology for entertainment, but of course, my son looks at me like I have five heads when I ask him this.
For me, reading and anime went hand-in-hand growing up. In many cases, anime led to reading manga! And though kids are reliant on short-form media and instant access these days, there’s always a chance to get them into reading.
This month, we’re taking a look at a handful of series that will get your kids interested in reading or inspired by books themselves! As always, you know your kid best.
A Certain Magical Index
You’re probably wondering what science, magic and a nun have to do with getting your kids to read. Have some faith in me. This series may be quirky, but it’s a fun series about the magical combination of science and books.
Our main character Toma is a student in an academic city full of people with special powers. He soon meets a nun whose name is Index and comes from a secret magical branch inside the Church of England. And locked inside her mind are 103,000 forbidden magical books. Between her infinite knowledge and Toma’s infinite power, they’ll set out to change the world.
A Certain Magical Index is a great series for sparking imagination and creates an opportunity to find books that spark further creativity. Hopefully it won’t take 103,000 times to find the perfect book, but at least one will be the gateway to them becoming an avid reader!
Watch A Certain Magical Index on Funimation!
Hyouka is a bit more grounded in reality, even though it’s based in a fictional city at a fictional school. In this series, we follow a group of friends who are members of their high school’s classic literature club.
Some join because they love reading, while others are there simply because their sister told them to be. Regardless of how they entered, they’ll have to come together to solve a mystery and keep the club from being dissolved.
One of my favorite things about this anime is how it shows the power of books. They have a way of connecting us not just to the characters in them, but to the people who enjoy them, too.
If your child is already interested in reading, but maybe wants to do more with it, consider finding them a book club to join, or encourage them to start one of their own! Us parents love a good book club. It’s the perfect way to spend time with people we care about and discuss the intricacies of reading. No, it’s not just about sipping wine and sharing gossip.
Watch Hyouka on Funimation!
Bungo Stray Dogs
Bungo Stray Dogs appears on this list for multiple reasons. The first reason is simply that this series is spectacular. The next is that it revolves around a magical book that can alter reality. Luckily for us, main character Atsushi Nakajima has the white tiger in their soul, a necessary key for unlocking the book’s power.
With the help of literary-inspired characters like a detective, a guild member and a mafia recruit, Atsushi will work to find the book before it gets into the wrong hands.
And Bungo Stray Dogs is packed with Easter eggs and nods to classic novels you or your child may have read, like Moby Dick. The anime also has darker moments that seem like they’re ripped from the pages of these literary classics.
This series is a great way to connect children or young teens to older literature. Plenty of aspects here are present in modern television or film, but it’s also a great tool to send them deeper into their love of reading!
Watch Bungo Stray Dogs on Funimation!
Magi is a sprawling fantasy adventure roughly inspired by the classic One Thousand and One Nights story. Featuring a hyper-glossy artstyle that captures the essence of classics, Magi takes an older story and brings it forward, taking some obvious liberties along the way.
With a younger protagonist, Magi is an easy connection for your kids as they get deeper into reading, especially as they find themselves inserting their own personalities and emotions into these stories.
It also helps that this is a bit of a coming-of-age story for Aladdin, Alibaba and Sinbad, as they overcome challenges and immaturity to become significant historical figures.
Of course we want kids to read books to enjoy them and spark their imagination, but we also want them to be inspired to take those things and apply them to the real world, like the courage of young Aladdin or the kind heart of Alibaba. Remember, books are powerful!
Watch Magi on Funimation!
I hope these tales of magic, science and literary-inspired mystery help encourage your little ones to set their phones down and pick up a book for a bit. They’ll see that books are just another way to experience the things they already enjoy!
They don’t just have to be for learning. They can be fun, too! Right, my son?