Our literary picks for February.

FOR AGES 3 TO 7

"THE STORY STARTS HERE!" by Caroline Merola

Little Wolf decides that today will be different! He'll eat dessert before breakfast, play piano with his toes and put his pants on his head rather than his legs. However, when his parents disagree, Little Wolf runs away to the forest. Once there, Little Wolf discovers a dark monster chasing all of the forest animals. Readers must flip the book over to discover the ending. The interactive format and bright, engaging illustrations will encourage shared reading between parent and child.

FOR AGES 5 TO 9

"FIREBIRD" by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers

Acclaimed American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland makes her children's book debut with the poignant story of one young girl's dream to become a ballerina. Copeland encourages the young girl, who lacks confidence in her ability as a dancer, to reach her dream through hard work and dedication. Beautiful illustrations by Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers highlight the lyrical text and create a soaring, striking image of the Firebird. This book will not only inspire young dancers, but children everywhere who have dreams and need to hear an encouraging voice.

FOR TEENS

"POPULAR: VINTAGE WISDOM FOR A MODERN GEEK: A MEMOIR" by Maya Van Wagenen

Surviving middle school: challenging. Surviving middle school while being popular: nearly impossible. Surviving middle school while wearing a girdle and pearls: hopeless. When middle-school student Maya Van Wagenen discovers a 1950s popularity guide written by former teen model Betty Cornell, a unique social experiment begins. Following Cornell's advice on clothing, diet, hair, personality and more, Maya embarks on a yearlong search for what it takes to be popular while documenting the often embarrassing outcomes. Along the way, Maya not only discovers what it takes to be popular, but what it actually means to be popular - which may surprise you. Told with humor and sometimes cringe-worthy honesty, this heartfelt memoir will appeal not only to teens, but adults as well.

-Carissa Whyte, Youth Services Librarian, Hilliard Branch Library of the Columbus Metropolitan Library


BOOKS FOR PARENTS

"PEOPLE I WANT TO PUNCH IN THE THROAT: COMPETITIVE CRAFTERS, DROP-OFF DESPOTS, AND OTHER SUBURBAN SCOURGES" by Jen Mann

She had me at the title, especially the subtitle. Jen Mann's collection of short essays, which are really entries from her popular blog (peopleiwanttopunchinthethroat.com), are a no-holds-barred and often hilarious rip on the personality types that make her suburban-mom life challenging (and that we all recognize from our own lives). And I respect that she doesn't spare herself or her family from criticism. Like most blog-collection books, I found I only wanted to read one or two essays at a time - which, to be honest, is about all most parents have time for - but it's good stuff in the hallowed tradition of Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry.

-Jane Hawes

FAMILY APP

MONKEY PRESCHOOL LUNCHBOX

Preschoolers (ages 2-5) can play seven different games with Monkey while learning about colors, letters, counting, differences and matching. Children will enjoy making the monkey flip and squeal when they get a correct answer and earning stickers for completing games. The dozens of sounds and voice recordings won't drive parents crazy, and toddlers and preschoolers will be able to navigate easily throughout the app as one game flows to the next. Available on Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon.com for $1.99.

-Carissa Whyte