Books for Kids

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

THUNDER BOY JR. by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Award-winners Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales joined forces for this picture book. Throughout the story, Thunder Boy Jr. grapples with his name and inherited identity, which was passed on to him by his father. Although young, Thunder Boy Jr. displays the wisdom of someone beyond his years and yearns for a unique name that reflects his identity, such as "Mud In His Ears" or "Full Of Wonder." The gorgeous illustrations depict his different identities and possible new names. Read along as Thunder Boy Jr. and his father lovingly compromise on a new authentic name that pays homage to his culture and family. Children in preschool and kindergarten are fixated on their own names, and this book provides a wonderful opportunity for caregivers to teach children the letters and meaning behind them. AGES 3-5


Hip-hop fans of all generations will love this biography dedicated to the birth of the music genre, culture and youth movement that came out of New York City's Bronx neighborhood in the early 1970s. Kool Herc's family and house were always full of music and dance. After his father bought a new sound system, he experimented with playing music at a neighborhood rec center party. His parties attracted the surrounding community, where people from all walks of life joined together to dance. Gangs became dance crews battling each other to win the support and respect of the crowd. Kool Herc's DJ friends joined the parties, where he introduced them to the crowd with a rap. Kool Herc would manipulate the records, creating breaks and repeats where people could dance to the best part of a song. Cultural writer Laban Carrick Hill tells the story of how hip-hop was born from a community celebrating music, dance and togetherness and became one of the most recognizable forms of music and culture around the world. Budding historians and cultural anthropologists will enjoy the timeline and select bibliography of books, films and websites that provide supplemental information. AGES 5-8


Two sisters, Soledad and Dominga, are taken away from their idyllic life in the Philippines to live with their stepmother, Vea, in Louisiana after family tragedy strikes. Sol and Ming rely on each other to keep hope that one day their magical Aunt Jove will bring them back home to the Philippines.Abandoned by their father and racked with guilt by the tragic deaths of their baby sister and mother, Sol and Ming survive living with their mean stepmother in a decaying and depressed neighborhood by weaving imaginative stories and memories of folklore told to them by their mother. In this touching coming-of-age story, readers will learn the power of storytelling as a way to illuminate the darkest times and to help cope with tragedy. AGES 8-11


Columbus Metropolitan Library's Teen Read Week author Jason Reynolds penned this novel about friends Ali, Needles and Noodles and the night that changed their lives forever. Ali was raised by a single mother working two jobs and an absentee father who popped in and out of Ali's life when his hustling lifestyle permitted. Needles and Noodles moved in next door and became friends with Ali, who often acted as the trio's moral compass. One day, they were offered the invitation of a lifetime to attend one of the neighborhood's exclusive dance parties. What happens next forces them to rely on each other in ways that go beyond the roles of neighbors and friends. Ali's family comes together to protect Needles and Noodles, and the aftermath of that night teaches the boys lessons about family, friendship, community and being responsible men. FOR TEENS

ELEGY FOR A DEAD WORLD by Dejobaan Games

Elegy for a Dead World is a futuristic game where the player is the sole survivor of a team sent to explore three worlds filled with beautiful landscapes, ruins, crumbling civilizations and mysterious sculptures. These worlds are inspired by the works of poets Lord Byron, John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. At various points in the game, the player is prompted to describe the scenery and develop a story-sometimes based on a character, piece of setting, song, poem or other element in the game. Used in more than 200 classrooms worldwide, Elegy for a Dead World teaches students about British Romantic-era poets as well as writing poetry and developing narrative. This game also is used to help English as a Second Language students practice grammar and as a tool to teach creative writing and game design. AGES 12-17

-Nicole Sochacki, Information Services Specialist - Youth Services, Main Library