Wonder Woman Tempest Tossed by Laurie Halse Anderson
Illus. by Leila Del Duca. DC Comics 2020. ISBN: 9781401286453.
(Age: Upper primary+) Recommended. Lovers of DC Comics' creation Wonder Woman will recognise the birth story of Princess Diana of Themyscira on that mythical island populated by Amazons, but in this story she is celebrating her 16th 'born day' like any other gawky teenager, hoping she will shed childhood weakness to join the warrior women of her island. Her gifts include the magical lasso, bracelets and tiara which will contain Wonder Woman's signature power but just as the celebrations begin the warrior women are called to repel mortals who are washing up on the island's shore. Diana ignores warnings and leaps to their aid, rescuing those in the sea and returning them to their boats. But her island has disappeared and she is left to join the refugees in their boats and experience first-hand their plight when they reach land, as they are processed and interned in a camp. Her aptitude with languages means she is able to be of great assistance to the people which attracts the attention of United Nations inspectors who organise for her to go to America and study to help refugees. There Diana has to learn that not all societies are like hers, that there are homeless people, poverty and injustice in America. She also learns about being an American teenager, about 'facepox' 'moonbleeding' mood swings and friendships as well as enjoying parcour and polka. When she learns about child trafficking she draws on her 'heart strength' and we see her tap into her superpowers to fight evil.
The graphics are strong and accessible, using varied and interesting framing and point of view. Important moments occupy double page spreads and insets and border art keep it lively. Diana is tall, energetic and relatable as a teenager with clear speech bubbles and thoughts in blue. The dedication is to refugees and asylum seekers and the title echoes the inscription on the Statue of Liberty welcoming exiles. There are resources at the end of the book for those in need of support. Recommended for upper primary and middle school lovers of superheroes who may learn something about poverty and refugee issues.
Themes: Superheroes, Refugees, Justice.