Superheroes, villains and special powers

alicia avatar (2)I spend a lot of time thinking about superheroes. I live with a Spider-Man fan, and of course, there’s not just one Spider-Man. I can never keep all the versions straight, but it turns out that doesn’t matter that much, since I have an expert on hand to re-explain them at any time, in any place. We regularly talk about whether Wonder Woman could take out certain villains. We discuss what the lamest superpower would be – right now, we mostly agree that “moistness” as a superpower would be pretty useless if you couldn’t freeze, heat up, or explode at the same time, and then it might just be more annoying than scary or awe-inspiring.

Soon, the library will also be full of talk of supers for summer reading, so I’m getting ready for that, too. I’ve made superhero avatars and minions. (See and to make your own.) I’ve got my cape reaminiondy.  Really. I own a cape. But that’s a story for another day.

So, I have been thinking about superhero fiction. Thanks to my resident expert and an eclectic bookshelf, here are a few to consider for your summer reading. I’ve put those that seem to work better for younger readers at the top and those for older kids and teens later on.

Flora and Ulysses – Kate DiCamillo… An ordinary squirrel gains special powers after an encounter with a vacuum. Amazing!

Almost Super and Searching for Super – Marion Jensen… Two brothers from a superhero family realize their powers are duds. Sound familiar?

Sidekicked and Minion – John David Anderson… What if your family expected you to become a sidekick or a minion?

The Girl Who Could Fly – Victoria Forester… People close to home thinks she’s weird, but then Piper is sent to a special school for kids with exceptional abilities, which turns out to be even more exceptional than expected.

Savvy and Scumble – Ingrid Law… On turning 13, you receive your special power, your “savvy,” and then things go a little nuts.

Vordak the Incomprehensible series – Scott Seegert… “Greetings, inferior one!” is just the beginning of the fun. You will laugh and laugh some more. (The author also has a fun website – mentioned above – at )

Sidekicks – Dan Santat Captain Amazing needs some help. His pets try to step up in this graphic novel.

El Deafo – Cece Bell… A graphic memoir about the author’s journey through hearing loss to becoming her own superhero.

Powerless, Super, and Villainous – Matthew Cody… In a town of supers, what do you do if you’re a “regular” kid?

Joshua Dread series – Lee Bacon… Superhero summer camp for a kid whose parents are supervillains?

Evil Genius series – Catherine Jinks… A child prodigy and hacker finds out his true identity after going to an advanced crime academy.

V is for Villain – Peter Moore… What will happen when you find out the truth about superheroes?

Archvillain, Mad Mask and Yesterday Again – Barry Lyga… Kyle knows Mighty Mike’s secret. Is it one he can keep?

The Zodiac Legacy series– Stan Lee, Andie Tong, Stuart Moore… 12 teens take on superpowers found in the Chinese zodiac. Convergence is the 1st book in the series.

Quantum Prophecy and Super Human series – Michael Carroll… All of the supers vanished ten years ago. What will happen when teens begin to show superpowers now?


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