Our literary picks for June.

FOR AGES 3 TO 6

"FLIP-A-WORD: ICE MICE" by Harriet Ziefert

Part of the "Flip-a-Word" series, Ice Mice is brilliant in its simplicity. Perfect for kids just beginning to read on their own or for children who struggle with the smaller sounds that make up words, Ice Mice is composed of short chapters of word families, words that share a common base. The text changes the prefix of the word via a clever die-cut hole. The brightly colored anime-style illustrations make it silly, eye-catching fun.

FOR AGES 5 TO 9

"A MOM FOR UMANDE" by Maria Faulconer

On a winter's night at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, baby gorilla Umande comes into the world wet, trembling and crying as if to say, "Will you hold me?" None of the gorillas, including his mother, pick him up. The reader is drawn in by the baby gorilla's sweetly illustrated face and the challenge zookeepers now face in raising him.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo eventually partners with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, introducing Umande to Lulu, an adult female gorilla there. Based on a true story, A Mom for Umande is a wonderful story with a local connection about adoption, human-animal relationships and gorilla behavior.

FOR AGES 8 TO 12

"THE QUIRKS: WELCOME TO NORMAL" by Erin Soderberg

The Quirks are quirky! Each member of the Quirk family has a special magical power: Mom can control minds; Grandpa can manipulate time; Penelope's imagination can manifest itself into reality and Finn is invisible! But Penelope's twin sister, Molly, stands out amongst the bunch because she is completely normal. The reader will be drawn into the Quirks' struggle to appreciate what is unique and different about themselves while also seeking a permanent home and reconciling their quirks with the outside world. Lively illustrations add a cartoonish exuberance to the text.

FOR TEENS

"GO: A KIDD'S GUIDE TO GRAPHIC DESIGN" by Chip Kidd

For kids growing up in American consumer culture, it can be easy to passively consume items and images and not appreciate that "everything not made by nature is designed by someone." Author Chip Kidd puts together a manual for the budding graphic designer that will make youthful readers mindful of the principles of design that go into everything around us: Forms, pictures, words, patterns, symmetry and other basic tenets of "visual communication" are all covered here and accompanied by brilliant full-page examples. The book ends with 10 design projects.


FAMILY APP

THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

Celebrate poetry with this interactive app ($9.99) by America's first-ever Children's Poet Laureate, Jack Prelutsky. Based on Prelutsky's 1984 book with the same name, the app features 18 exuberantly animated poems for kids to interact with. Children can choose the "Read to Me" option to hear the poems read aloud by Prelutsky or the "Let Me Play" option in which they are encouraged to learn the meaning of different words in highly interactive fashion. The app brings language and poetry to life for children and encourages them to explore, interact with, watch and hear poetry in new and fun ways.

-Stephanie Steelman, Youth Services Supervisor, Linden Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library