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Kids learn Manga

Rodolfo Roman
Kendale Lakes Elementary fifth grader Angela Lopez, 10, has been interested in anime for a little more than a year.
When she is not working on homework, she is drawing animated Japanese cartoon figures such as Pokémon.
“It’s interesting with the comic books and manga,” she said. “It’s inspiring.”
On Thursday, right after school, Angela worked on creating an Angry Bird, a character from a popular game, out of Cubeecraft — a paper craft featuring interlocking tabs for creating characters without the use of tape or glue — at the West Dade Regional Library, 9445 s.w. 24th St., part of the monthly Teen Program featuring anime and manga, Japanese comic books, on the last Thursday of the month.
Other school kids joined Angela and her brother, Richard Lopez, 5.
The free program is opened to children and teens. They get to see anime on a projector screen, read the latest books in manga and work on crafts. A library card is not necessary to participate. The activity lasts for about an hour.
Librarian Miguel Martell said kids are motivated by manga novels and anime.
“This is a great way to encourage children to read,” Martell said. “Not all manga or Japanese graphic novels are superficial.”
Manga books differ from American books as most are read from the right to the left.
Librarians play an anime film like a 30-minute episode of Ghost Hunt. Then the kids discuss the episode. Several manga and anime DVD’s are set up on a table so the youngsters can check them out. Students are also given comic books and movie posters. The activity is held on the second floor’s auditorium. The program started about five years ago. The library also hosts a video and board game activity at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.
The second-floor West Dade Regional Library, which is the second largest library in the county, carries over 1,000 manga novels and 100 anime DVDs. The selection of books can be found on both the second and first floor. The anime and video game program is also held at different library branches around the county.
Rockway Middle School seventh grader Frank Saroza, 12, walked from school with friends to participate and whose favorite anime is Dragon Ball-Z.
“We get to do fun stuff and meet friends,” he said.

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