Questions of identity, culture, and heritage are brilliantly answered in Thunder Boy Jr., a beautifully written and illustrated new picture book from acclaimed author Sherman Alexie and illustrator Yuyi Morales.
Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that’s all his own. Just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn’t mean he wants to be Little Thunder. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he’s done, like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder.
But just when Thunder Boy Jr. thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name…a name that is sure to light up the sky.
National Book Award-winner Sherman Alexie’s lyrical text and Caldecott Honor-winner Yuyi Morales’s striking and beautiful illustrations celebrate the special relationship between father and son.
Alexie’s story lovingly captures one boy’s quest to define his own identity, while still paying tribute to his family name and his heritage. Through Alexie’s words and Morales’ illustrations, we see the qualities that Thunder Boy Jr. most cherishes in himself — as he seeks out ideas for his own new name.
And ultimately, it’s when Thunder Boy Jr. teams up with his dad that he finds the perfect name; a way to define himself and still be a part of something bigger. I love the relationship between father and son that this book shows. Alexie captures it so perfectly when he writes:
I love my dad but
I don’t want to be exactly like him.
I love my dad but
I want to be mostly
What child can’t relate to that sentiment? Wanting to be like a parent, but also being yourself. Different, but together. Alexie captures that sentiment perfectly — and Morales uses her illustrations to bring those emotions to life on each page.
A lovely story from start to finish, Thunder Boy Jr. is in stores now.