Review of A Little Bit Super: With Small Powers Come Big Problems

A Little Bit Super: With Small Powers Come Big Problems A Little Bit Super: With Small Powers Come Big Problems
edited by Leah Henderson and Gary D. Schmidt; illus. by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Intermediate, Middle School    Clarion/HarperCollins    288 pp.
4/24    9780358683421    $18.99
e-book ed.  9780358659532    $10.99

This imaginative collection presents thirteen stories from an all-star team of authors, including Nikki Grimes, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Linda Sue Park. A heartfelt introduction by the coeditors sets up the theme and through line: these are short stories of middle-school kids growing in self-knowledge and empathy as they realize that they each have some sort of gift. (“Because everyone has a power, and that power matters, no matter how small or inconvenient it may seem.”) The compilation is cleverly organized into two parts: “The Power of Discovering Who We Are” and “The Power of Being Who We Are.” Abilities portrayed include time-jumping, shape-shifting, telepathy, the courage to speak truth to power, the ability to sense when avocados are ripe, and more. In Kyle Lukoff’s story, a child learns to take steps to trust and affirm his own wishes about his gender identity; in Mitali Perkins’s, a chameleon gives a girl magical cultural code–switching abilities. Whether big or small, silly or serious (or both), every power is brought to life through a nuanced, diverse cast of characters and entertaining, thought-provoking plots. While the narratives lean whimsical, this entire project offers readers a careful, serious, and profound invitation to reflect on issues of identity, responsibility, social justice, and the myriad ways that people’s gifts—in both perception and application—can affect others’ lives, relationships, and the wider world. Illustrations not seen.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elisa Gall

Elisa Gall is a teacher-librarian at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. 

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