CELEBRATING MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY WITH A NEW RELEASE and GIVEAWAY!
A boy, his new friend, and a canine they desperately want to save serve as the backdrop for this heartwarming story. A story full of challenges for both young and old.
Hank has autism and his loving parents do everything to understand his way of thinking. They’re stretched to the limits when Hank steals the book his teacher is reading out loud and promptly sets it afire in the boy’s bathroom. Then a new girl in his class, Maisie Huang, talks him into helping her steal a neglected dog. They will be heroes.
Not so fast. Ten-year-old minds are at work here, and Maisie has personal challenges of her own (revealed in the final chapters). But together they push forth and discover becoming a hero is not very easy—especially when you don’t understand those you’re trying to help.
The third person narration flows perfectly, even when things slow down toward the end. Hank and Maisie make a compelling pair. It takes a village is the old saying and these two kids have a great one. The resolution will bring a smile to your face. My favorite realistic middle grade read so far this year.
PAGE COUNT: 256 BOOK BIRTHDAY: February 25, 2020
Hank Hudson is in a bit of trouble. After an incident involving the boy’s bathroom and a terribly sad book his teacher is forcing them to read, Hank is left with a week’s suspension and a slightly charred hardcover—and, it turns out, the attention of new girl Maisie Huang.
Maisie has been on the lookout for a kid with the meatballs to help her with a very important mission: Saving her neighbor’s dog, Booler. Booler has seizures, and his owner, Mr. Jorgensen, keeps him tied to a tree all day and night because of them. It’s enough to make Hank even sadder than that book does—he has autism, and he knows what it’s like to be treated poorly because of something that makes you different.
But different is not less. And Hank is willing to get into even more trouble to prove it. Soon he and Maisie are lying, brown-nosing, baking, and cow milking all in the name of saving Booler—but not everything is as it seems. Booler might not be the only one who needs saving. And being a hero can look a lot like being a friend.
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT
WE COULD BE HEROES by Margaret Finnegan
You gain a deeper understanding how autism effects both Hank and those around him. Young readers and their teachers will benefit.
Hank wants to be a geologist and always keeps three rocks in his pocket. It’s these rocks that help him accept new people in his life. This small detail pays off big dividends for the success of the plot.
The reality that friendship takes time even for two kids with a growing eagerness to share their challenges. The bond between them does not happen without a lot of hurt. Fantastic character arcs for both.
Can we somehow clone Hank’s parents? They deal with every unusual situation Hank gets himself into with empathy and quiet talks. For a son with no friends they especially handled the issue of new friendships beautifully.
Many pieces of dialog will stay with you for a long time. Perfect for 4th grade on up, WE COULD BE HEROES is a great read-aloud and discussion starter.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Margaret Finnegan’s work has appeared in FamilyFun, the Los Angeles Times, Salon, and other publications. She lives in South Pasadena, California, where she enjoys spending time with her family, walking her dog, and baking really good chocolate cakes. Connect with her at MargaretFinnegan.com.
If you would like a chance to win your own copy of WE COULD BE HEROES (U.S Addresses only; courtesy of the publisher and BLUE SLIP MEDIA) make a comment below! I’ll do a random selection of the winner on March 1st.