Media Reviews: Inspiring Books for Kids

Barbara Gibbon

Pacho Nacho by Silvia Lopez, illustrated by Pablo Pino

When Pacho Nacho was born, his parents couldn’t decide on a name, so they asked their family members for advice. Not agreeing, he was named Pacho-Nacho-Nico-Tico-Melo-Felo-Kiko-Rico. His parents were proud of this and insisted he always be called by his full name. One day Pacho-Nacho and his younger brother Juan were playing when a tree branch broke. Juan runs for help, but first he is required to say Pacho Nacho’s full name. Will Pacho Nacho be saved from danger? Set in Mexico, this cute story is based on an old Japanese tale. FOR AGES 4-7

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard, illustrated by Oge Mora

You’re never too old to learn. “The Oldest Student” is the inspirational true story of Mary Walker, born a slave and denied the right to learn to read. Mary was freed at age 15, but she worked so hard during her life that there was never time to learn. When Mary was 114, she decided it was time. It wasn’t easy, but she was determined. People everywhere celebrated with Mary when at age 116, she could finally read! This book is illustrated by the award-winning Oge Mora, who grew up in Columbus. FOR AGES 4-8 

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Things Seen from Above by Shelley Pearsall

At the start of sixth grade, April notices her friend Julie has changed over the summer. Unlike Julie, April doesn’t enjoy texting or hanging out with the popular kids. To avoid her peers, April volunteers for Buddy Bench. She notices Joey Byrd, a fourth-grader who is bullied and shunned by his classmates for his bizarre behavior. At recess, he wanders alone, dragging his feet in the mulch and turning in circles. Trying to comprehend Joey, April realizes that one’s perspective makes all the difference in understanding. FOR AGES 8-12

The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story by Jim Di Bartolo

This interesting graphic novel illustrates the story of Bruce Lee, focusing mainly on his childhood in Hong Kong with highlights of his brief adult life. Lee struggled with discrimination, bullying and gang influence, but his turning point was learning kung fu. He studied intently, becoming a master and developing his own techniques. An overview of Lee’s life with a few fictionalized accounts, this book could inspire someone to read a more in-depth biography or check out some of his films. FOR AGES 8-12

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Told from the voice of two girls, “Clap When You Land” is a novel written in verse. Camino, whose mother died when she was young, lives in the Dominican Republic and looks forward to her father’s visit every summer. Yahaira’s father, who lives in New York with her mother, leaves every summer for the Dominican Republic. Both girls, knowing nothing of the other’s existence, learn of their father’s death in a tragic plane crash. This story deals with grief, loss, family love and other sensitive topics. FOR TEENS


Maps of Our World: The Geography Quiz

Maps of Our World by Trilliarden seems appropriate for ages 8 and older. View maps to become familiar with countries in a region, or test yourself in the training mode by locating countries, capitals or cities. To unlock achievements, the challenge option presents users with 25 questions, with only three errors allowed. Some maps require a fee to unlock, but there is plenty to learn for free. This app is a great way for students to learn or review geography. Available for iOS.

Barbara Gibbon is an information services specialist at the Barnett branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Pacho Nacho


The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read