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Not all Heroes Wear Capes

Not All Heroes Wear Capes 10 Things We Can Learn From the Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things

Published: 18 Mar 2021

Paperback / softback, 160 pages

Recommended for age 9+ and 11+

By Ben Brooks

Published by Hachette Children's Group

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Drawing on his own experiences growing up and from researching for the bestselling Dare to Be Different books, Ben Brooks reminds children that heroes aren't always the wall-climbing, cape-wearing, villain-fighters we see in comics and films. Ordinary people can be heroes too - you just need to find your own superpower!

Tagged significant lives

Reviewed by Stephen Connor

Not All Heroes Wear Capes by Ben Brooks is a book that shines a light on other people and their achievements, while simultaneously nudging the reader along in their thinking – what can you do?

As the title suggests, this is not a book about superheroes, though comparisons are made, nor is it (necessarily) a book about famous people, though they are mentioned. We are brought the stories of people like Ellen McArthur, Sir Captain Tom Moore, and Ivan Fernandez Anaya, who may be more well known, and we learn about lesser-known names who have made a difference. These short biographies are presented in a comic book style, making their stories accessible and engaging.

Throughout the book, readers are asked to think about themselves, such as making a list of their dreams. We are asked: what are you already good at? What are you grateful for? Who are you grateful to? What are your strengths? All of this is geared at helping us become more aware of what heroism could be – making a difference. The book is not preachy but encouraging. It emphasises the twin powers of knowledge and kindness. If we can promote just those two things, we are doing well.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes would be an excellent book to use in PSHE sessions, enabling children to think positively about themselves and what they can achieve. The gentle questions and prompts throughout will help them (and all of us) to realise that to be a hero, we do not have to change the whole world, but if we can change our little part of it, be that a home or a classroom, or a community, we are doing something worthwhile.

I currently teach Y5/6 in South Derbyshire, leading KS2 in a rural school. My obsession with children's literature is only just beginning, I fear.

When not reading, I will be running, or walking around the Lake District.