Superhero Books: From the Extraordinary to the Everyday
By Luisa LaFleur, The Children’s Book Review
Published: February 2, 2013
The concept of a superhero—someone who has special powers to fight evil and protect humanity from dangers seen and unseen—appeals to most all children and to most all adults. Following is a handy guide to all the classic superheroes and a few new superhero books.
By Gina Misiroglu
Reading level: Pre-teens and up
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Visible Ink Press
What to expect: Everything you ever wanted to know about superheroes
For the most part, we know where Superman came from and what Batman’s motivation is but as my kids get older, they’ve started asking me all kinds of questions. Like, “What is the Hulk’s weakness?” And my eloquent response was, “Um, let’s ask Dad when he gets home.” This is the book that I’ve been searching for to answer all those pesky questions and set little minds at ease. It includes detailed information on origin, skills, powers and weaknesses, to name just a few. Loaded with photos and illustrations, pre-readers may also enjoy looking at their favorite superheroes while the reader fills them in on all the details.
By Victoria Forester
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: Square Fish
What to expect: Coping with being different, making friends through adversity
Piper McCloud has a gift. She can fly. But that wouldn’t go over very well in her town and her parents, hoping to give her the best and most normal life, decide to send her off to a top-secret school for extraordinary children like herself. Her new classmates have all kinds of powers: they can control the weather, see through walls, move objects with their minds. Piper makes fast friends with them, and this ability comes in handy when things start to get weird. The Girl Who Could Fly tells a fast-paced and action-packed superhero story but it also imparts lots of wisdom about friends, facing adversity and making the most of your own abilities, whatever they may be.
By Lee Bacon
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Random House
What to expect: Middle school, bullies, villains and superheroes
Joshua Dread is just another kid in middle school, facing ordinary bullies and everyday awkward situations. Except for a few complications–his parents are a pair of evil villains that are bent on destroying the world. His new friend Sophie, is the daughter of Captain Justice, the superhero that is intent on saving the world and capturing the evil villains. Middle school just got a lot more interesting. This well-told story will hold even the most reluctant reader’s attention. It is funny, fast-paced and full of adventure.
By Elisabeth Kushner; Illustrated by Mike Byrne
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
What to expect: Jewish history told for children, superheroes, non-traditional families
Young Nate has to decide what to dress up as for Purim, the Jewish holiday that celebrates Queen Esther and how she saved the Jewish people. He wants to be an alien but his friends are all going to be superheroes and he can’t decide what to do. He’s torn between fitting in and being true to himself. He asks one of his fathers for advice and in explaining the Purim story, Nate’s father explains that being true to yourself makes you stronger. Nate ends up with a completely original costume and friends that praise him for being unique.