Since 2004, students at Martin Luther King, Jr., High School in Manhattan have been creating manga-Japanese comic books. They write the stories, design the characters, and publish their works in print and on the Internet. These students-African-American and Latino teenagers-are more than interested in the art and medium of manga. They have become completely engrossed in Japanese language, culture, and society. Based on a four-year study, Manga High explores the convergence of literacy, creativity, social development, and personal identity in one of New York City's largest high schools. The text is highlighted by reproductions and content analysis of students' original art and writing. An appendix includes guidelines for educators on starting a comic book club.
Michael Bitz is the founder of the Comic Book Project and cofounder of the Youth Music Exchange. The first recipient of the Educational Entrepreneurship Fellowship at the Mind Trust in Indianapolis, he also received the Distinguished Alumni Early Career Award from Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Bitz has served on the faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Ramapo College.