13 March 2015

Review & Giveaway: Public School Superhero by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts

Public School Superhero by James Patterson & Chris TebbettsEverywhere you look these days people are talking about comics and graphic novels. And we all know that many middle-grade readers are particularly drawn to the medium. But because comics are geared to a broad range of readers, parents may wonder about which ones are appropriate for their young readers.

Fortunately, there are a lot of kid-friendly choices, and James Patterson's fun and funny middle-school graphic/illustrated novels are always a safe bet. Patterson's newest is Public School Superhero, which is written with Chris Tebbetts.

On the outside, Kenny Wright is a mild-mannered chess club geek who is finding it really hard to stay out of the way of the tough kids at his new school. But on the inside he's really Stainlezz Steel Man, defender of the weak and doer of good deeds.

Of course, Kenny knows he's not really a superhero, but a kid can dream, can't he? And in his urban neighborhood, it's a good idea to feel strong. Unfortunately, Kenny's image isn't helped by his watchful grandmother, who insists on walking him to school, even though he's in sixth grade--practically grown up already.

When, after a rocky start to the school year, Kenny is tasked with teaching chess to one of the tough kids, he is stunned. Unfortunately, he understands it's pretty much the only way he'll be able to navigate the roiling waters of middle school. Let's hope Stainlezz Steel Man can lend a hand.

Although Patterson and Tebbetts address a lot of important issues in Public School Superhero, they avoid being preachy. The humor and black-and-white illustrations and short comics (drawn by Cory Thomas) help keep the tone light, even while the story explores bullying, family, friendship, honesty, and helping others.

In addition, the book highlights some of the concerns that inner-city schools face on a daily basis, such as no gymnasium, antiquated technology, and overcrowded classrooms.

Even though every problem has not been solved, the book ends on an upbeat. Kenny, with the help of some caring adults and a vivid imagination, manages not only to make through the first couple months of sixth grade but to find his place at school and at home.

For more information about the book, visit the website for Public School Superhero and follow #PublicSchoolSuperhero on your social media sites. For more on James Patterson, visit his website, follow him on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.

The Giveaway: Thanks to Little Brown I'm able to offer one of my readers with a U.S. mailing address a fabulous prize pack of four books. One lucky reader will get a copy of Public School Superhero along three more of Patterson's middle school books: I Funny, Treasure Hunters, and House of Robots. All you have to do to be entered to win is to fill out the form. I'll pick a winner using a random number generator on March 20. Once the winner has been confirmed, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck.


bermudaonion 3/13/15, 7:44 AM  

I've heard great things about his middle grade books. Thanks for the giveaway!

Belle Wong 3/13/15, 11:22 PM  

I think Dylan will like this one. He's very much a graphic novel reader.

Karen B 6/9/15, 7:47 AM  

Hi Beth!
I received these 4 books on 4/9 and have no idea where they came from. Did I possibly win your giveaway and not know it?
Thank you - Karen

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