Please welcome author Gina Bellisario with a list of diverse superhero books! We are also giving away a signed copy of Ellie Ultra: An Extra-Ordinary Girl. A second winner will receive Ellie Ultra: Queen of the Spelling Bee. Please see the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter to win.
Ellie Ultra: An Extra-Ordinary Girl by Gina Bellisario, illustrations by Jessika von Innerebner
The first book in an action-packed early chapter book series, An Extra-Ordinary Girl features a third-grade, African-American girl who is her city’s resident superhero. But when her powers make her stand out in school, fitting in proves tougher than fighting villains. [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]
Books give kids power—the power to explore, grow, empathize and, most of all, imagine themselves in an extra-ordinary way. Superhero books are particularly powerful, especially when they feature diverse super characters with different body shapes, abilities, and ethnicities. With campaigns like #WeNeedDiverseBooks pushing for diversity in kidlit, these books are hitting more and more shelves with a Wham! and a Ka-POW!
Here are my top 10 favorite diverse superhero books that get the job done:
10. The Adventures of Sparrowboy by Brian Pinkney
From Caldecott honoree Brian Pinkney, this picture book is about Henry, an African-American paperboy who saves the day along his route. He fights danger by pretending to have powers like Falconman, a newspaper comic strip hero. [graphic novel picture book, ages 4 and up]
9. A Journey into Adaptation with Max Axiom, Super Scientist by Agnieszka Biskup and Barbara Schulz, illustrated by Cynthia Martin
This graphic novel features Max Axiom, an African-American teacher who uses his science skills to explore how animals adapt to survive. Max has amazing superpowers, and they help make learning extra fun. [graphic novel, ages 8 and up]
8. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
A second-grade, Chinese-American boy, Alvin Ho is afraid of talking in school. But he loves superheroes like Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern and, at home, turns into his imaginary alter-ego, Firecracker Man. [notebook novel, ages 6 and up]
7. The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis
This graphic novel features three kid scientists, including Greta Hughes, an African-American girl. The science team builds fantastic gadgets, but when a wicked scientist steals their blueprints, they must put their skills to the test. [graphic novel, ages 8 and up]
6. Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Miguel Benitez
In the first book of the Zapato Power series, Freddie Ramos uses his super-speedy shoes to race to the rescue and help his friends. Spanish words are integrated into this fast-paced chapter book. [early chapter book, ages 7 and up]
5. Lily Renée, Escape Artist by Trina Robbins, illustrated by Anne Timmons and Mo Oh
Based on a true story, this graphic novel is about Lily Renée Wilhelm, an artist of heroes in the comic book world. As a 14-year-old Jewish girl, she escapes as Nazis march into her country, overcoming incredible odds. [graphic novel, ages 9 and up]
4. The Silver Six by A.J. Lieberman, illustratedby Darren Rawlings
The Silver Six is a graphic novel that features a mighty group of kids who flee an evil orphanage, only to face off against a powerful villain. The young team includes a Japanese girl named Hannah Yoshiyama and an Indian boy named Patel. [graphic novel, ages 8 and up]
3. The Gumazing Gum Girl: Chews Your Destiny by Rhode Montijo
Gabby Gomez is Gum Girl, the stretchy Hispanic superhero whose extra-chewy power helps her make daring rescues around town. Spanish words are sprinkled throughout the story. [early chapter book, ages 4 and up]
2. El Deafo by Cece Bell
This 2015 Newbery Honor Book and graphic novel memoir features the author’s struggle with hearing loss as a girl. El Deafo is her imagined, super alter-ego who helps her understand that our differences are our superpowers. [graphic novel, ages 8 and up]
1. Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Mike Holmes
In this graphic novel series, three friends combine their ace coding skills to solve the mysteries of their school. The series features a diverse set of main characters, including Hopper, a girl who is biracial and Eni, a boy who is African American. [graphic novel, ages 8 and up]
2 Book Signed Giveaway
Win signed copy of book #1, Ellie Ultra: An Extra-Ordinary Girl, and book #2, Ellie Ultra: Queen of the Spelling Bee, which were released this September. Book #3, (Super Fluffy to the Rescue) and #4 (Team Earth Takeover) will be released in February 2017. Please fill out Rafflecopter below to win. I can only mail to U.S. or AFO due to high cost of shipping.
Gina Bellisario is an author of many super books for kids, including her early chapter book series, ELLIE ULTRA (Capstone/Stone Arch Books, 2016), which is about a third-grade superhero! Her first book, THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN ILLINOIS (Sterling Children’s Books, 2012) was nominated for a Lincoln Award from the Illinois Office of Tourism, and her books in the series, Cloverleaf Books – Community Helpers (Lerner/Millbrook Press, 2013) won a Learning Magazine Teachers’ Choice Award. Get to know all about Gina’s books at www.ginabellisario.com.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.