Cole Champion Is Not Super

North Star Editions. (Cole Champion: STEM Superhero: Bk. 1). Jan. 2022. 112p. Tr $24.27. ISBN 9781631635878; pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781631635885.
Gr 3-6–Cole Champion, who is white, is supposed to feel lucky to attend Honor, Endurance, Restore, Optimism (HERO) Junior High, where his mother is principal. But Cole, an average student with a love of science, can’t help feeling out of place alongside his extraordinary classmates, who have powers like invisibility and super strength. However, when an incident at school is beyond the scope of superpowers, Cole finds his moment to shine. This book is a brisk, accessible text, and Huddleston’s artwork adds visual appeal for readers who enjoy multimodal texts and illustrated novels. The first-person narration is inviting, and Cole is a very human character with uncertainties and reflections about the world around him who tween readers will likely find relatable. There is an adventure/action-oriented sensibility that adds another layer of engagement, and the theme of finding the hero within is authentic.
VERDICT A heroic series debut with a STEM focus that young readers can connect with. Recommended for comic fans, and for libraries as a solid option for open choice reading time.

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