365 Real-Life Superheroes written by Valentina Camerini

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Translated by Moreno Giovannoni. Piccolo Nero, 2020. ISBN: 9781760642471.
(Age: 9 - 12). Recommended. 365 Real-Life Superheroes would be a worthwhile addition to the children's section in a public library, a primary school library or classroom. This illustrated paperback is filled with short uncomplicated snapshots showcasing 365 superheroes both past and present. These include sportspeople, scientists, journalists, explorers, doctors, astronauts, musicians, artists and activists. Each person profiled has a symbol imprinted on the page to show the value or talent they have displayed. These include generosity, determination, courage, intelligence, creativity, justice and curiosity. Many of the superheroes will be unknown to both adults and students but all have contributed in some way to the betterment of the world and time they lived in or who were able to initiate change. Some of the lesser known profiles include Bill Haast who let snakes bite him and ended up donating his blood for scientific research and fifteen year old African American Claudette Colvin who refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white person and was arrested. There are more famous profiles including the band Queen who played to Soviet citizens in a time when there was animosity between the Soviet Union and the western world and Malala Yousafzai who defended everyone's right to study especially in her home country of Pakistan. Two well-known Australians profiled in the book are Lowitja O'Donoghue who was the first Aboriginal woman to study at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Eddie Mabo who fought for the right to his land.
While this book does not contain an introduction or contents page and would benefit from both, it does have an index of those discussed. Students in the middle grades often have a fascination with the lives of people who have made changes both in recent and historical times and sharing this book with students may encourage and inspire further research. Themes: People Who Changed the World, Role Models, Non-fiction.
Kathryn Beilby