Calling all superhero fans: April 28 is National Superhero Day!
I love that superheroes come in all shapes, sizes, colors and species. I think that means anyone might be a superhero . . . even the person next to you. Maybe even you!
If you could choose one superpower, what would it be? Fly over to my Instagram page and share your choice. Unless flying isn’t your chosen power, of course. If that’s the case, you can click here like an ordinary mortal. Though I’m almost positive you’re not at all ordinary. Super or not, I think you’re pretty special.
This year I collected a super new batch of superhero books. Most of them have come out recently—some just months ago—while some are a little older, but all are worth reading. Any book is new until you’ve read it, right?
1. Map of Flames (The Forgotten Five, Book 1) by Lisa McMann
I’ve said it before and will probably say it again: I love a series. Don’t you? When you really enjoy a character, you want to spend more time with them than just one book. So I’m excited to see this first entry in a new middle-grade fantasy/adventure series.
Amazon description: Fifteen years ago, eight supernatural criminals fled Estero City to make a new life in an isolated tropical hideout. Over time, seven of them disappeared without a trace, presumed captured or killed. And now, the remaining one has died.
Left behind to fend for themselves are the criminals’ five children, each with superpowers of their own: Birdie can communicate with animals. Brix has athletic abilities and can heal quickly. Tenner can swim like a fish and can see in the dark and hear from a distance. Seven’s skin camouflages to match whatever is around him. Cabot hasn’t shown signs of any unusual power—yet.
Then one day Birdie finds a map among her father’s things that leads to a secret stash. There is also a note: Go to Estero, find your mother, and give her the map. The five have lived their entire lives in isolation. What would it mean to follow the map to a strange world full of things they’ve only heard about, like cell phones, cars, and electricity? A world where, thanks to their parents, being supernatural is a crime?
2. The Supervillain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid by Matt Wallace
Bullying is always wrong and it’s good to ask for help if it happens to you. I’m not sure I’d have asked a supervillain for advice, but that’s what Max did. You’ll have to read the book to find out how that turned out!
Amazon description: Max’s first year of middle school hasn’t been easy. Eighth-grade hotshot Johnny Pro torments Max constantly, for no other reason than Max is fat and an easy target. Max wishes he could fight back, but he doesn’t want to hurt Johnny . . . just make him feel the way Max feels.
In desperation, Max writes to the only person he thinks will understand: imprisoned supervillain Master Plan, a “gentleman of size.” To his surprise, Master Plan wants to help! He suggests a way for Max to get even with Johnny Pro, and change how the other kids at school see them both.
And it works! When Master Plan’s help pays off for Max in ways he couldn’t have imagined, he starts gaining confidence—enough to finally talk to Marina, the girl he likes in class who shares his passion for baking. With Master Plan in his corner, anything seems possible . . . but is there a price to pay for the supervillain’s help?
3. The Unforgettable Logan Foster by Shawn Peters
Congrats to first-time author Shawn Peters for this brand-new (January 2022) story full of superheroes, supervillains, and epic showdowns between good and evil.
Amazon description: Logan Foster has pretty much given up on the idea of ever being adopted. It could have something to with his awkward manner, his photographic memory, or his affection for reciting curious facts, but whatever the cause, Logan and his “PP’s” (prospective parents) have never clicked.
Then everything changes when Gil and Margie arrive. Although they aren’t exactly perfect themselves—Gil has the punniest sense of humor and Margie’s cooking would have anyone running for the hills—they genuinely seem to care. But it doesn’t take Logan long to notice some very odd things about them. They are out at all hours, they never seem to eat, and there’s a part of the house that is protected by some pretty elaborate security.
No matter what Logan could have imagined, nothing prepared him for the truth: His PP’s are actually superheroes, and they’re being hunted down by dastardly forces. Logan’s found himself caught in the middle in a massive battle and the very fate of the world may hang in the balance. Will Logan be able to find a way to save the day and his new family?
4. Super Sidekicks #1: No Adults Allowed by Gavin Aung
Do they have superheroes in Australia? You bet they do, and those heroes have sidekicks who are tired of playing second fiddle. This fun graphic novel has tons of puns and a great story.
Amazon description: Superheroes have it soooo easy. They don’t have to clean their secret headquarters, wash alien bloodstains out of their costumes, or walk Super Mutt. NO! They leave that for their sidekicks, while they get all the credit.
Well, Junior Justice, aka J.J., has had ENOUGH! He thinks it’s time the sidekicks made a team of their own. Dinomite and Flygirl are ready to join the team, but first they have to prove to the adult superheroes that they’re more than just sidekicks. And once the evil Dr Enok discovers his favorite pet Goo has left him, the world might need saving sooner rather than later. . . .
5. Stuntboy, in the Meantime by Jason Reynolds
I loved this book from the first pages that describe the Episode 1 theme music. But would I consider Portico an actual superhero? Yes. Yes, I think I would.
Amazon description: Portico Reeves’s superpower is making sure all the other superheroes—like his parents and two best friends—stay super. And safe. Super safe. And he does this all in secret. No one in his civilian life knows he’s actually…Stuntboy!
But his regular Portico identity is pretty cool, too. He lives in the biggest house on the block, maybe in the whole city, which basically makes it a castle. His mom calls where they live an apartment building. But a building with fifty doors just in the hallways is definitely a castle. And behind those fifty doors live a bunch of different people who Stuntboy saves all the time. In fact, he’s the only reason the cat, New Name Every Day, has nine lives.
All this is swell except for Portico’s other secret, his not-so-super secret. His parents are fighting all the time. They’re trying to hide it by repeatedly telling Portico to go check on a neighbor “in the meantime.” But Portico knows “meantime” means his parents are heading into the Mean Time which means they’re about to get into it, and well, Portico’s superhero responsibility is to save them, too—as soon as he figures out how.
Only, all these secrets give Portico the worry wiggles, the frets, which his mom calls anxiety. Plus, like all superheroes, Portico has an arch-nemesis who is determined to prove that there is nothing super about Portico at all.
6. Green Arrow: Stranded by Brendan Deneen
It’s so interesting to find out what superheroes were like when before they became “super.” Like Ollie, before he became Green Arrow . . . and got stranded on a desert island.
Amazon description: Ollie has always hated the idea of hunting, but his dad insisted they go on this trip with his business partner, Sebastian, and his son, Tyler. When Ollie fails to take a perfect shot, the teasing starts, and he wonders if his dad will ever be proud of him again.
But just when he thought their trip couldn’t get any worse, their private jet is struck by lightning and Ollie awakens to find himself stranded on a deserted island, with no idea what to do or where the other passengers might be—including his dad. He has never felt less sure of who he is . . . or if he will be able to hang on until help arrives.
7. Primer by Thomas Krajewski
Paint that gives you superpowers? Where’s my paintbrush?!
Amazon description: Thirteen-year-old Ashley Rayburn is an upbeat girl with a decidedly downbeat past. With a criminal father in prison, Ashley has bounced from foster home to foster home with trouble always finding her along the way.
Finally settling in with loving and supportive foster parents, Ashley’s world is turned upside down again when she stumbles upon a set of body paints that grant the wearer a multitude of superpowers. But the government agency that made those paints wants them back, and now she has to make hard choices to protect her new family while overcoming the shadows of the past.
8. Boots (The League of Secret Heroes, Book 3) by Kate Hannigan
If you’re new to The League of Secret Heroes and want to start at the beginning—and if you haven’t read it yet, you probably do—start with Cape.
Amazon description: When the Infinity Trinity hears of a Nazi spy plot that could bring danger to Chicago, Mae knows they must go to check on her beloved aunts, the daring World War II pilots Willa Brown and Janet Harmon.
Mae’s Granny Crumpler isn’t exactly thrilled about her granddaughter and her friends trying to get involved with something so dangerous—especially when she’s already worried about not hearing from Mae’s dad, who is serving in Europe and fighting for freedom on and off the battlefield. But when Aunt Willa and Aunt Janet go missing, Mae knows that the sinister spy plot just got personal. They discover the evil Metallic Falcon has captured her aunts, and he is determined to thwart the Infinity Trinity’s ultimate quest to bring back Zenobia and all the missing superheroes safely.
With the help of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) and Room Twelve, Mae, Josie, and Akiko must use all their powers and code-cracking smarts in a challenge that will take them on a high-flying loop from Chicago to Sweetwater, Texas, to a final showdown in Paris. Can the Infinity Trinity soar to new heights and complete the biggest mission of them all?
9. Journey to Superhero School by Gracie Dix
I couldn’t share superhero books without adding my own to the list. This is my second book but it’s a prequel to the first one, so if you like to read stories in chronological order, start here.
Amazon description: When twins Jessica and Oliver Fletcher discover their Super Powers at age 4, the family realizes their lives will never be the same again. Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher work hard to raise this dynamic pair, helping them try to fit in while learning to use their Powers to better themselves and the world around them. School is especially tricky for these students who must not reveal their Powers—until their mother receives a mysterious phone call in the middle of the night. While Jessica and Oliver face a variety of challenges—from battling living-room décor, to daring rescues, to bungling doctors—they get through it all with family support, love for each other, and their own unique brand of sibling sarcasm.
10. Welcome to Superhero School by Gracie Dix
The book that started my life as an author! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Amazon description: Welcome to Superhero School! Join Oliver, Jess, and all their friends on a mission to destroy the power-hungry, evil villains of Vork. From subterranean sewers to lush jungle, from dinosaurs to dragons, our heroes will be pushed to their limits in ways they’d never imagined.
Will their collective Powers—Flight, Morphing, Invisibility, Mind Reading, and more—be enough for them to overcome the malevolence of Vork? Or will they stumble over their own doubts and painful histories?
This action-packed journey of friendship, hardship, and humor will take our heroes to thrilling new heights and a deeper understanding of their own place in the world. But will that be enough—or will Vork always be one step ahead?
There you have it: my National Superhero Day reading list. I don’t expect you to read them all on that one day, but if you read any of them, come over to my Instagram account and tell me what you think! Happy day, you superhero, you!