A Tuesday Ten: Growing a Star Wars Fan
Posted by Stephanie Whelan
I first saw Star Wars huddled in the back of my parents’ station wagon at the Drive-in theater I was probably all of five, and my main memory of the whole movie is that I was so crushed when Obi-wan Kenobi died that I was inconsolable for the rest of the movie. Nevertheless, I was a Star Wars fan from that early age on. My brothers and I had a Darth Vader action figure case and a whole mess of figures. So you can imagine I have a certain amount of glee in seeing the new Star Wars movie on the horizon and a son who’s old enough to go see it.
But the movie isn’t all that’s new–there are a lot of books recently published for babies, kids and tweens on Star Wars. And while I usually avoid discussing books based on other media, I’ll bend the rules in this case. So, how can you introduce the new generation to the Star Wars fandom via books? That’s the topic of this newest Ten . . .
Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope by Jack Wang and Holman Wang (Chronicle Books, April 2015)
If you aren’t familiar with the creators of Epic Yarns and Cozy Classics, you really should see some of these amazing board books! Our creators handcraft scenes out of felt–in this book twelve in all–and add one word descriptions to each scene. In the case of A New Hope, the creators take actual scenes from the movie and recreate them with an impressive amount of detail and accuracy. The story may be truncated by the format, but it’s an adorable gift for the tiniest Star Wars fan and their parents.
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones by Golden Books, illustrated by Ethen Beavers (Golden Books, July 2015)
When I was growing up , Little Golden Books were sort of the staple for early childhood. Well they’re still around and busily publishing a whole line of picture books about the Star Wars universe! The illustrations are bright and entertaining and while the stories are certainly toned down and shortened for the sake of audience and space, they can be a great way to open the world of Star Wars to your toddler and preschooler!
Lego Star Wars: A New Hope (DK Readers Level 1) by Emma Grange (DK Children, 2014)
Lego has gone and gotten mighty clever and funny in its various depictions of popular movies and superheroes. This easy reader series combines the Lego toy images with simple story reading for young fans just beginning to get the hang of reading. The Lego aspect does keep it more light-hearted and kid friendly in some ways, but it’s also just rather smartly done so I can’t really complain. The original trilogy is represented in 3 easy readers, each one bumping up to a higher DK reading level. There are a lot of easy readers out there, and while the text and story won’t be brilliant, it engages the beginning reader and gives them a universe they can begin to scratch the surface of while knowing there’s much, much more.
Star Wars: The Adventures of Han Solo by Lindsay Kent (DK Publishing, 2011)
If you prefer not to go the Lego route, DK also offers a number of readers featuring the actual characters. Be forewarned that while this says Level 2, the overall vocabulary is pretty complicated. For kids really getting the hang of reading on their own, however, these stories are great–especially since this is just about the age when they might see their first Star Wars movie.
Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle, 2013)
On the lighter side, we have the funny side of the dark side! Jeffrey Brown reimagines Darth as somewhat less of a villain and somewhat more of a dad. This is an absolutely adorable collection that adults and kids will enjoy paging through and chuckling over.
Star Wars, Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron, illustrated by John Cassaday (Marvel, September 2015)
For the slightly older crowd (9-14) there are the new Marvel comic offerings that readers can discover alongside their favorite superheroes and anime adventures. Some of these adventures translate pretty readily to comic form!
The Princess, The Scoundrel and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken (Disney Lucas Film, September 2015)
I’ve got to admit that this new treatment of the original Star Wars movie as a novel-length adventure has me excited. Broken into three parts, each of the main characters tells a chunk of the story from their perspective. We start with Leia, shift to Han and wind up with Luke. It’s not a new story, but the variation on it adds new dimension and details, as well as introducing a new audience. You’ll notice that the rest of this list is made up of Disney Lucasfilm books, mostly because, well, they own the rights. I normally try to vary up publishers in a list, but in this case, I’m limiting the field substantially.
Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure by Cecil Castelucci and Jason Fry (Disney Lucas Film, September 2015)
Part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series. I admit I’m focusing on the Leia book here because this is an awesome cover! The series covers adventures set between the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi with Leia leading a group of rebels. This MG chapter book apparently offers some hints and clues about the upcoming Star Wars Movie . . .
Edge of the Galaxy by Jason Fry (Disney Lucas Film Press, 2014)
`This is the first book in a the new series; Star Wars Rebels: Servants of the Empire. It provides a look at different characters and stories. Zare Leonis thinks he’s a loyal servant of the Empire until his sister goes missing and Zare begins to see the destruction the Empire is causing. The seeds of doubt lead him to start questioning everything he knows . . . This high-adventure Star Wars series will offer readers something beyond what they know of the Star Trek universe.
Star Wars: The Original Trilogy Stories based on the story and screenplay by George Lucas, illustrated by Brian Rood (Disney Lucasfilm, September 2015)
A really gorgeous coffee table style book with metallic edged pages, photos and illustrations. The text should be approachable by 3rd and 4th grade readers, and it’s a nice collector’s item to provide a young fan. This book encompasses the first trilogy in its entirety however, so if you want to have them learn the plot by watching, this might be a nice gift for after the fact.
There’s plenty more out there. Especially since the publishing rush is just warming up in regards to Star Wars. But I think this offers a nice range of stories and types of books for all young readers. Got your own favorites to add? I’m all ears! Comments welcome!
About Stephanie WhelanI'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.
Posted on November 17, 2015, in General Posts, Lists and tagged Authors, Books, Children's Books, Children's Literature, Children's Movies, kidlit, Lists, literature, MG Books, Middle-Grade Fiction, Movies, Reading, reviews, Science Fiction, series, SF, Space Adventure, Star Wars. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.