Recommended titles for all ages from the Columbus Metropolitan Library

Fur, Feather, Fin: All of Us Are Kin
By Diane Lang, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
Readers are introduced to the six classes of animals, along with two additional categories, in this picture book. Simple rhymes and engaging illustrations make what could be an intimidating topic approachable for young children. The basic qualities that place animals in a category are explained, along with differences and similarities of all who share this world. FOR AGES 3-8

Mixed: A Colorful Story
By Arree Chung
In the beginning, there are three colors—Blue, Red and Yellow—who are different but get along well. However, they begin arguing and claiming that each is superior to the others. The colors separate and only associate with their own kind, until one day a Yellow befriends a Blue. They soon marry, mix and produce a new color: Green. Before long, all of the colors are mixing and creating a whole rainbow. This endearing story with simple illustrations can be read as a basic color story with young readers and as an introduction to the difficult topics of discrimination and race relationships with older children. FOR AGES 3-12

My Great Outdoors Book: The Kids’ Guide to Being Outside
By Josie Jeffery, illustrated by Alice Lickens
Rainy or sunny, nighttime or day, kids can use this book to find an outdoor activity that will grab their attention. Ideas range from games to creating art and music. The suggestions help teach both basic science skills and an appreciation for the wonderful world where we live. Each activity has a large, two-page spread with easy-to-understand instructions and simple illustrations. FOR AGES 4-10 

Harbor Me
By Jacqueline Woodson
A small group of students who have faced difficulties in school and at home are placed in a room for an hour each week, without an adult, to talk about anything they want. After some initial awkwardness, the students begin to open up about their lives. The difficult topics of racism, death, immigration and parental incarceration are all discussed from these students’ points of view. While a brief novel can’t address the many nuances of these topics, Woodson does a masterful job of presenting the issues in a context and language that are accessible to late-elementary school students. This book invites reflection and conversation about a large range of ideas and would be an excellent pick to read along with your child. FOR AGES 8-12

Blood Water Paint
By Joy McCullough
Artemisia spends her days in 17th-century Rome painting works that her father passes off as his own. When a mentor whom her father wants her to charm rapes her, she must choose whether to keep silent or go public in a world disinclined to believe her. Strengthened by her deceased mother’s stories of strong Biblical heroines, Artemisia makes a courageous choice. Told mostly in verse, this novel—based on real-life painter Artemisia Gentileschi—has a strong message about the importance of self-respect and the willingness to stand against injustice, regardless of the cost. FOR TEENS

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Youngzine
youngzine.org
This bright, interactive website provides an ad-free, safe place for children to both learn about and engage with current events. Articles are written with a clear, evenhanded approach that makes news accessible to young people and encourages them to form their own opinions. Registered users can submit their own articles, reviews and travelogues and leave comments. All content is moderated by the editorial team to maintain civility and appropriateness.

Amanda Stephen Fister is an information services specialist in youth services at the Gahanna Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.