I reviewed a couple of the Manga Guides before, which are published by No Starch Press. The Manga Guides offer an exciting way to learn science, math or other technical topics. They are all written by experts(!) in the subject’s field and are translated into English from their original Japanese (and they read from left to right).
Yes, I said, “story.” The Manga Guides follow an entertaining comic book story while the characters learn more about their subjects. You can browse extended samples of the Manga Guides to Electricity and Calculus below.
Electricity is a central feature of modern life on planet Earth… but, even more so on the planet, Electopia, in The Manga Guide to Electricity. This is a problem for Rereko, who is failing her electricity courses in school. So she is sent to Earth (where we learn electricity at a remedial rate, apparently) to learn up on the whole electrical thing, along with Yonosuke, a “transdimensional walkie-talkie and observation robot (a.k.a. little cute teddy bear robot who makes frequent entertaining wisecracks).
When she appears in Japan in front of Hikaru, who does electrical research at the local university, they work out an arrangement to learn more ASAP so she can get back to her planet before anything (else) goes wrong. Of course, everything immediately starts to go wrong. Plus, living with a young, handsome student could cause some problems of their own… but maybe not what you would think. Like when the electrical power goes out, and they are left alone… in the dark… wait, who is that sneaking up behind her?!?
The Manga Guide to Electricity teaches the basics of electrical theory, electrical circuits, how electicity is used, how it is generated, and more. The author, Kazuhiro Fujitaki, is an electrical engineering professor and author who helps with electrical engineers professional testing. Given his background, you might expect the book to be difficult to get through, but it is really very clear, easy to understand, and fun to read.
I really enjoyed the book, and now I know why getting shocked from a battery (eeeek!) feels differently from getting shocked from an electrical socket (EE-AA-EE-AA!!!). Anyone studying electricity, from children to adults, would benefit from The Manga Guide to Electricity, which is also great for otaku, manga fans, or science geeks.
The Manga Guide to Calculus dives right into the Calculus, yet within an enjoyable manga setting. And with advanced mathematics, we can all probably use as many entertaining examples (and lots of jokes) as we can get.
The manga follows a story line of Noriko Hikima, a pretty college graduate in the Humanities who is about to embark on her first, exciting job as a journalist! But when she arrives for her first day at work, she finds that her assignment is in a small, rural office, with little going on in the way of real news. But when Kakeru Seki, her new, handsome boss, tells her that he will help her learn to understand facts and trends so that she can get a promotion to the main office, she quickly accepts the job. In training her, Kakeru is given to frequent asides which tie real-life examples to calculus, while they go on various assignments to cover news stories.
The Manga Guide to Calculus covers functions, differentiation, the taylor expansion and much more, switching between straightforward explanations and the storyline of real-world examples, like when they cover a local festival and start talking about integration. Eventually Noriko, looking deeply into Kakeru’s eyes, confesses that his lessons have revealed a wonderful way to convey things that cannot be conveyed in words (swoon!).
Dr. Hiroyuki Kojima, a professor at the University of Tokyo, explains calculus in intriguing and easy-to-understand ways. The Manga Guide to Calculus would be a must-have relief for any students new to Calculus, or to anyone who wants a painless refresher.
Have you heard of the Manga Guides which are published from No Starch Press? If not, let me tell you a little about them. The Manga Guides are a fun way to learn science or technical topics. They are all written by an expert in the subject’s field and were translated into English from their original Japanese. The Guides have a manga — or Japanese-style comic book — area, followed by text areas with more detailed information about each main point.
The Manga Guides follow an actual (cute!) story with the characters wanting (or needing!) to learn more about certain subjects.
You can browse extended samples of Manga Guides to Molecular Biology and Statistics below.
In The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology, Rin and Ami haven’t been attending their college course and need to make up classes. I liked how the manga had a story line that keeps you engaged instead of it just being a bunch of facts that are hard to keep track of. The girls even get to go into a virtual reality machine when their studies require that they see something in greater detail. As No Starch Press founder Bill Pollock says, “Who wouldn’t want to be small enough to see DNA at work?”
The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology teaches the basics of cells, DNA, RNA, proteins, genetics and more. I appreciated that the complex ideas are taught with clear explanations, and the visual aspect of the books are a big help to gain understanding. The author, Masaharu Takemura lectures at the Tokyo University and is a medical doctor as well, and he does a great job at explaining these concepts in simple terms.
When things get a little too complex, the girls said just what I was thinking, i.e., “Huh?” and then the teacher backtracks and tells it again either in simpler terms, or by looking at it from another direction. I enjoyed learning lots of new things, like how peroxisomes are organelles that use oxygen to kill bacteria and other harmful things, like how I use hydrogen peroxide to clean and clear out infections (ears, sinuses, throat, skin, etc).
If you or someone you know is studying the basics of Microbiology, or if you just would like to know more about how and why living things work the way they do, then The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology is an engaging and excellent tool to learn from and enjoy.
The Manga Guide to Statistics offers an introduction to the study of statistics in a fun manga setting. Statistics is categorized under mathematics, but is actually the area most likely to be used in everyday settings, so it’s helpful for everyone to understand at least the basics.
The manga follows a story line of Rui, a teen girl who decides she wants to learn more about statistics — and about the young, handsome co-worker her father brings home (who works with marketing statistics). The young man enlightens Rui about the area of statistics and how it applies to many areas of modern living. Hoping to learn more about him, she begs her father to allow her to study statistics further, hoping for the handsome young man to teach her. Her father is very excited that she wants to learn more about statistics, and immediately agrees, but a surprise awaits when the tutor arrives. Rui then becomes quickly embroiled in all things related to the basics of statistics.
From estimation and probability to calculating averages, Rui is able to see examples of statistics in everything from ramen pricing to fun quizzes in her teen magazines. She was happy to use a bar graph when just looking at all the figures got a little overwhelming. She even learns how to test a hypothesis using statistics.
Author Shin Takahashi has worked as a lecturer, data analyst and a technical writer, and does a great job at familiarizing the concepts and vocabulary of the field. The Manga Guide to Statistics can help not only students, but also is beneficial for learning about data analysis for research and business needs. There is detailed information in the back of the book as to how to calculate with Microsoft Excel for extra assistance. And, as with all the Manga Guides, would be a lot of fun for any manga fan to enjoy!
This is a fun and friendly craft book that’s designed for kids, with clear steps and lots of photos and illustrations for each project. Some projects require lots of different supplies and techniques, and there are four different categories — pompom creatures, celebration decorations, fashion accessories, and home decor — with 35 crafts between them all. My daughter had fun making the cute party hats for her birthday that were topped with colorful pom poms!
About the Author:
Lucy Hopping works as an Art and Craft Product Developer in the toy industry, designing and developing kits to teach children various crafts. This has taken her to UK and international trade fairs and to showrooms and factories in the Far East. In her spare time, Lucy enjoys making stitched, crocheted, and knitted products to sell at local craft fairs and online craft websites. She is passionate about inspiring young people to get crafting as well as making items in her own right. She is the author of Rubber Band Bracelets, Loopy Loom Rubber Band Animals, Friendship Bracelets, co-author of Handmade Glamping, and a contributor to Crafting for Girls, all published by CICO Books. Lucy lives in Lancashire, UK.
I vividly remember the scene in the Disney film, “Big Hero Six,” where a frazzled, adoptive mother rants to herself, wondering out-loud how to raise these kids, clearly frustrated over the past several years of ineffectiveness, before she finally asks herself, “Should I have picked up a book on parenting? Probably!” I was reminded of this when my obviously frustrated daughter was re-watching the film with me. I decided to look for a book which could help her clarify and understand the changes she is going through — especially from someone other than her mother. Girling Up is that book.
As you might already know, Dr. Mayim Bialik is a former girl, a current and child (“Blossom”) actress, and now, a neuroscientist as well, and she brings her wealth of knowledge, education, and experience to her numerous best-selling books on parenting and more. This book is addressed to young women, and helps those — like my daughter — grasp and succeed at life, rather than simply marveling in horror as her brain (literally) expands into adolescence and beyond. After a little pep talk as to what this unusual birthday gift was, she seems to have become more and more engaged with the book, devouring these secrets of growing up well. The understanding my daughter is gaining seems to have helped her gain more poise and quiet confidence — the kind that comes from truly understanding.
Super clever book about some not-so-clever inventions, which are all nonetheless witty and fun. Some of the inventions were built but didn’t really catch on, proposed but never built, or still in development. There are prism glasses so you can read a book opened on a frame on top of your head, and soccer balls that store up energy during playtime that you can plug into at night. It’s all quite inspiring to the young inventors in our home. I’m really pleased with how inspiring to creative thinking 50 Wacky Inventions is.
I have a little sculptor in our house who loves to make little desktop artworks out of various kinds of clay. So, she was delighted to get Clay Lab for Kids for her birthday this year. The book introduces the different kinds of kid-friendly clays out there, and shows a lot of innovative and clever techniques to make the 52 projects within.
My daughter is especially delighted with the sushi, tie-dye turtle, fortune cookie, and monster magnets projects. The book is very well bound, printed, and designed, clear, and easy to follow, with lots of photos throughout. It’s a lot of fun, and I love how she’s learned so much and become even more inspired to create all sorts of great little items of her own design. Highly recommended for any young sculptor!