Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review: Public School Superhero & Giveaway

Summary: Kenny Wright is a kid with a secret identity. In his mind, he's Stainlezz Steel, super-powered defender of the weak. In reality, he's a chess club devotee known as a "Grandma's Boy," a label that makes him an easy target for bullies. Kenny wants to bring a little more Steel to the real world, but the question is: can he recognize his own true strength before peer pressure forces him to make the worst choice of his life?

Featuring more than 150 pieces of line art and comic-style sequences, James Patterson's newest illustrated novel is a genuinely funny yet poignant look at middle school in a challenging urban setting, where a kid's life can depend on the everyday decisions he makes. -- Little Brown

When PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts arrived at our house, there was one very excited 10 year old! Booking Son is a relatively reluctant reader, but he's found so many James Patterson books that he's enjoyed. He was excited to see that there is a new one out... and that he got an "early" copy!

PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO tells the story of Kenny Wright, otherwise known as the superhero Stainlezz Steel... but only in his mind! He actually plays chess and is called "Grandma's Boy;" and as you can probably tell by his nickname, he's often times the victim of school bullies. He attends a public, inner city middle school that's definitely seen its better days.

Kenny finds himself in a little trouble and his "punishment" is to teach one of the bullies chess. Naturally Kenny is less than thrilled with his circumstances, but he finds that he's not the only one learning something!

I really liked PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO and I suspect middle grade readers are going to agree... even/especially the most reluctant ones! PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO is a fast-paced (and funny!) story that is guaranteed to keep kids' interest. In addition, there is enough comic panels thrown in to break up the reading. It also doesn't hurt that many of these cartoons have superhero sequences!

PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO explores so many middle school issues, and I think kids are going to find a few things to which they can relate. Kenny attends an inner city school that is just horrible, and I'm pretty certain it's not an unrealistic portrayal -- I honestly have no idea how any kids can learn in that environment. As depressing as it is, it's actually refreshing to see a school portrayed like this, and I hope that many kids will relate to Kenny and see that they aren't alone.

Another wonderful aspect of this novel is the way it explores bullying. I know! I know! There definitely isn't a shortage of middle grade books dealing with this subject; however, I liked how PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO portrayed this. Not only did Kenny work through his relationship with one of his bullies, but he also managed to learn a thing or two from him.

As a mom, I loved how this novel explored friendships and relationships. Kenny lived with his grandmother (who was a fantastic character and community advocate!), and they had a wonderful relationship. Kenny loved his grandmother and knew she loved him; and as a result, he didn't want to let her down... there was also a little fear there too! Kenny also had a neat relationship with some of the kids in his school and neighborhood.

Overall, I think PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHEROES is a great middle grade book that's guaranteed to entertain kids! It also deals with so many relevant subjects that it lends itself to classroom and book club discussions. High recommended!

If you still want more information about PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO, you can learn more at Public School Superhero.com. You can also visit the Author Site at JamesPatterson.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook (#PublicSchoolSuperhero).

And now for the exciting news! I have a fantastic James Patterson Reads prize pack! Booking Son thinks this is the best giveaway I've ever had... and I suspect his friends would agree. Not only can you win a copy of PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO, but you can also win copies of HOUSE OF ROBOTS (which Booking Son loved!), I FUNNY (he loved this one too!), and TREASURE HUNTERS (actually, he loved this one too!)

To enter, just fill out the form below before March 30th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will randomly select and notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!

And here's some more exciting news! James Patterson has started a great initiative to help underfunded schools in America. Here's the scoop:

In 2015, James Patterson will donate 100,000 copies of PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO to some of the most neglected and underfunded schools in America, and he will launch a major campaign to support school libraries. In 2014, in addition to giving a copy of one of his middle grade books to every sixth grader in the New York City and Chicago public school systems, Patterson gave $1,000,000 to independent bookstores with children’s sections.  

When James Patterson meets with underprivileged kids at schools in some of the country’s poorest neighborhoods, they often ask him, “Why can’t we be heroes in any books?”  To answer that question and to bring more books into more kids’ lives, James Patterson is donating 100,000 copies of his new book for young readers, PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO, to some of the most under-resourced schools and youth programs in the country.  He was moved to make this donation after recognizing a large and underserved community of children who don’t see themselves portrayed in dynamic, entertaining stories often enough.

These same kids also inspired PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO, by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, with illustrations by Cory Thomas, a book about an African American sixth-grade chess devotee named Kenny Wright who lives in an inner city. It’s a story brimming with wit, action, and heart, one all kids are bound to find relatable and entertaining.

The books will be distributed through First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books for kids in need. First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that has distributed more than 125 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families in the United States and Canada. By making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. For more information visit firstbook.org or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel and for providing the James Patterson Reads Prize Pack!

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I'm all for any book that gets kids excited! Thanks for the giveaway!