Hey y’all, so you may have noticed that I haven’t read middle grade in a while. It’s not a genre that I’m quick to run to and let’s face it, I’m a YA gal at heart. But that doesn’t mean middle grade can’t tug at my heartstrings every now and again.
I received an ARC e-galley of Isaiah Dunn is my Hero from Netgalley.
A coming-of-age tale about a boy who discovers a love of poetry after finding his late father’s journal. Adapted from a story that first appeared in “Flying Lessons & Other Stories” and perfect for fans of “The Parker Inheritance” by Varian Johnson.
Isaiah is now the big man of the house. But it’s a lot harder than his dad made it look. His little sister, Charlie, asks too many questions, and Mama’s gone totally silent.
Good thing Isaiah can count on his best friend, Sneaky, who always has a scheme for getting around the rules. Plus, his classmate Angel has a few good ideas of her own–once she stops hassling Isaiah.
And when things get really tough, there’s Daddy’s journal, filled with stories about the amazing Isaiah Dunn, a superhero who gets his powers from beans and rice. Isaiah wishes his dad’s tales were real. He could use those powers right about now!
Kelly J. Baptist’s debut novel explores the indomitable spirit of a ten-year-old boy and the superhero strength it takes to grow up.
Trigger Warnings: Homelessness, Depressed parent, Death of a parent
Throughout the story, we follow Isaiah’s journey as he goes through major transitions. With the loss of his father, Isaiah is trying to adjust to a new normal. It’s a great story for encouraging empathy in young readers. Just because someone appears one way on the outside, doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot going on in their home life. Everyone has a story.
Sometimes I’d be reading this story and forget it was middle grade. There was one line that hit me and one I definitely wasn’t expecting:
Talk about timely. And the fact that Kelly Baptist slipped that in so subtly had me reading it a good three or four times to make sure I wasn’t tripping.
All in All
This book was so powerful. I feel like that’s such a strong word to use here but it truly was. I loved it.
Isaiah’s character development and growth over the course of this story was beautiful. I loved the honest portrayal of how our relationships with others affect us. This is a much needed novel in middle grade. There’s a high chance I’ll be getting this for my cousins once it’s officially out.
The fact that it addresses homelessness is really dope. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story quite like this one. It’s also really nice to see a Black boy on the cover of a story wearing a superhero cape.
Overall, a great read.