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Culture Children's Books

Children's Books

Photo by Bill D. Johnson

Danika Cooley


Children's Books

Graphic novels for ages 6-14

Nothing exciting ever happens to D.J., until he discovers a child in a crater. The kid, who calls himself Hilo, has superpowers and can process information in seconds but doesn’t remember his origin. Hilo finds charm in everything about Earth until he meets a monster from another world who seems to know everything about him. In the ensuing fracas, D.J. discovers unexpected reserves of courage and ingenuity. The story illustrates valuable themes of human worth and potential, but it’s mostly for fun: Outstanding! as Hilo would say. (Ages 6-10)

Fable Comics

More than two dozen contemporary cartoonists update centuries-old fables that, while timeless in their depiction of humanity’s foibles, have often lost their punch because of inaccessible language and illustrations. Purists may groan at the treatment Aesop and his contemporaries receive, but children will delight in the humor, action, and variety of cartoon styles. Some treatments are more effective and clever than others, but the variety of artistic interpretations offers something for everyone. Each fable has an implicit or explicit moral. Parents may wish to preview the contents since the tone is sometimes disrespectful or sarcastic. (Ages 8-12)

Escape from the Lizzarks: Nnewts 

Herk would be perfectly happy in his peaceful village and loving family, except for his puny back legs. The crippled little salamander spends most of his time in the family pond baby-sitting his sibling spawn, until the day evil lizzarks invade the village. Herk appears to be the only one to escape, embarking on a perilous journey through underground streams. He turns out to be a newt of destiny with one surviving family member, but further revelations will have to wait until the next volume. TenNapel layers Christian themes with nonstop action, scary creatures, and occasional belly laughs. (Ages 8-12)

Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish

Mirka, the rare Orthodox Jewish heroine in the graphic novel universe, is feisty, argumentative, and impulsive—but she always puts her adventures on hold for Sabbath observance. This book, Mirka’s third outing, emphasizes her prickly relationship with her stepmother, Fruma. While baby-sitting her stepsister, Mirka disobeys Fruma’s warnings and encounters a magic fish with the power to grant wishes—and the malevolent creature, nursing a grudge, plunges the girls into a mess that only Fruma can untangle. The complex plot requires attention and plumbs some psychological depth, but flashes of humor and heart brighten the mood. (Ages 10-14)


When lightning strikes the elm tree where young Martin Luther seeks shelter during a violent storm, he cries out to God, vowing to leave law school for the monastery. This is one of many attempts by a restless Luther to placate what he sees as an angry and implacable God. When Lightning Struck! by Danika Cooley (Fortress Press, 2015) tells Luther’s story from birth to death and from his quest to earn salvation to his revelation of grace.

Cooley, relying heavily on Luther’s own words and carefully annotating them, pieces together the “thunderstorms” in Luther’s life and the European world after his 95 theses trigger the Reformation. The latter half of the book looks closely at ensuing theological disputes, Luther’s writings, and his controversial choices and vices. Cooley gives young adult readers a thoughtful picture of how God used a flawed man to change the course of history. —Mary Jackson