UDON Kids Manga Line Launches at ALA Midwinter

by Jeff

UDON Entertainment launched their new UDON Kids Manga line at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting with a celebratory party on Saturday, January 24 at the Denver Sheraton.

About 75 librarians and booksellers joined staff from UDON and Diamond Book Distributors for champagne and desert. The announced titles received a warm welcome, with advance reading copies and catalogues being snapped up by everyone in attendance!

Janna Morishima, Director of Diamond Kids Group for Diamond Books, spoke about the need for age-appropriate manga for younger readers in North America, given its explosive popularity with older youth audiences. She noted that UDON’s line features some of the best and most popular young reader manga from Japan, titles with a proven appeal to kids aged 7-12.

Eva Volin, the supervising children’s librarian for the Alameda Free Library in Alameda, CA, spoke about the explosive growth of manga and its value for libraries and educators to get kids engaged with reading. One of manga’s strengths, Eva noted, is the diverse range of characters and genres it covers, a diversity reflected in UDON’s Kids Manga.

UDON Project Manager Jim Zubkavich introduced the first four titles in the line, showcasing the variety of genres and interests:

THE BIG ADVENTURES OF MAJOKO – Follow the adventures of a human girl and her new wizard friend Majoko, as they explore the Land of Magic and its many wonders.

NINJA BASEBALL KYUMA – After a little ninja named Kyuma mistakes the team captain for his master, he becomes the local baseball team’s first ever ninja player!

FAIRY IDOL KANON – Kanon was just an ordinary girl who loved to sing… but now with the help of a magical fairy, she’s on her way to becoming a pop idol!

SWANS IN SPACE – Two young girls are recruited by a cute, bear-like alien into the Space Patrol, a secret organization dedicated to helping others across the galaxy.

The description of SWANS IN SPACE as “science fiction… for girls” garnered an especially loud cheer from the assembled librarians. After the presentation, there was a lot of excited discussion about the strong potential for books that will let younger kids enjoy the manga that their older siblings already love, while satisfying parental need for age-appropriate content.

The all-new UDON Kids Manga launches in April 2009 with the first volumes of THE BIG ADVENTURES OF MAJOKO and NINJA BASEBALL KYUMA. FAIRY IDOL KANON and SWANS IN SPACE will follow in May and June, respectively.

More information is available at: www.mangaforkids.com

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