“The Manga Guide to Physiology” (http://tinyurl.com/qbzavwp) is the latest in No Starch Press’s series of Manga Guides—a series of cartoon guides to math and science praised as “absolutely amazing for teaching complex ideas and theories” (Physics Today), “charming and engaging” (School Library Journal), and “stimulus for the next generation of scientists” (Scientific Computing).

The 11 books in the series so far have helped more than 500,000 readers worldwide master challenging STEM topics like electricity, biochemistry, statistics, databases, and relativity. “The Manga Guide to Physiology” ($19.95, 256 pages) is a complete primer on the biology of the human body that couples the technical detail of a textbook with the charm of a cute comic book story. Like all of the books in the Manga Guide series, readers follow the manga story as they learn the math and science.

In this volume, readers follow student nurse Kumiko and her tutor, Professor Kaisei, as she studies for her physiology make-up exam. Kumiko soon learns that physiology is not about rote memorization, but about understanding how the different parts of the body work. From the tiny details of nerve cell transmissions to the complexities of internal organs, the musculoskeletal system, and the nervous system. Readers of “The Manga Guide to Physiology” learn:

° How the digestive system and the citric acid cycle break food down into nutrients and energy;

° How the body regulates itself with hormones and physiological responses;

° How the body’s cell defense system fights off intruders and infections;

° How the kidneys filter blood, maintain homeostasis, and produce energy;

° The science behind medical tests like electrocardiograms, spirograms, and blood pressure monitoring.

The author, Etsuro Tanaka is a doctor of medicine who specializes in physiology and nutritional science. A professor in the Tokyo University of Agriculture Faculty of Applied Bio-Science, he has also written several popular physiology textbooks for nursing students.