When asked why renowned young adult author Sherman Alexie decided to write a book for children, the response is what one would hope it would be from all authors: “I want to write books that make kids hungry for more books. I hope…that my book becomes the gateway drug….” He believes that his newest book, a picture book for young readers called “Thunderboy Jr.,” can live up to these wishes.
“Thunderboy Jr.” is about a young boy and his search for identity. He grows up in a close, loving family, and despite his appreciation of it, he grows tired of living in the shadow of his father Thunderboy simply because he was given the same name. He would rather be named after an accomplishment in his life that showcases his own unique talents and abilities.
This journey is portrayed by beautiful and thoughtful illustrations by Yuyi Morales that made the family come to life in color.
Along with these illustration, the story carries themes of being yourself and discovering what make you you.
It also reflects the Native American custom of having a birth name and then earning a new name through a special experience or achievement in the transition to adulthood.
Overall, “Thunderboy Jr.” is a book that is both simple and sophisticated, perfect for new and experienced readers. Every different reader will get something different out of it.
Alexie’s inspiration for this book is the people who have come to him and told him that a book he has written was the first book they ever finished. “I’ve really, really been inspired by the positive response of teen boys who were reluctant readers,” he says. He hopes his work will access more readers and hook them into a deep love for books, because he thinks that reading is a very valuable thing.
Sherman Alexie hopes that this will help him access more readers and hook them into reading, because he think that reading is a very valuable thing.
“Oh, it saved my life,” he says. “I mean, literally saved my life; I’m not talking about metaphors. I’m talking about literacy itself is what saved me from poverty, and that each book I read increased my chances of survival.”
What can reading do for you?