Have you ever thought about having a different name? Why is your name just right for you? I really liked the way the character in this book took time to think about his name.
Summary from the publisher:
Thunder Boy Jr. wants a normal name...one that's all his own. Dad is known as big Thunder, but little thunder doesn't want to share a name. 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 Little Thunder thinks all hope is lost, dad picks the best name...Lightning! Their love will be loud and bright, and together they will light up the sky.
Thunder Boy Jr. was written by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Yuyi Morales. It was published in 2016 by Little, Brown and Company.
“Hello, my name is Thunder Boy. Thunder Boy Smith. That’s my real name.”
My Thoughts as a Writer:
There is a strong voice in this book, since it’s written as though the main character is talking to the reader. I really loved all the fun possibilities the main character comes up with for choosing a new name. This is another good example of a story with different layers and an important message about being yourself.
My Thoughts as a Teacher:
This book would a great addition to a classroom and school library collection. Not only does it reflect the perspective from a native American culture, it also shows a strong relationship between a son and his father. I would be so great to read early in the school year when students are getting to know each other and learning about each other’s names. I love the line: “I want a name that sounds like me.” Discussing all the possibilities for a new name would provide lots of opportunities for students to talk about some of their accomplishments and experiences.
Ages: 4 - 8
Grades: K - 3
Themes: family, names, sense of self
List at least five experiences you are proud of. What names could you make up for yourself?
Choose an important adult in your life. What things do you love about him or her? In what ways do you want to be different?
Here’s the book trailer:
Sherman Alexie discusses the book: