The Hero Next Door

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
From We Need Diverse Books, the organization behind Flying Lessons & Other Stories, comes another middle-grade short story collection--this one focused on exploring acts of bravery--featuring some of the best own-voices children's authors, including R. J. Palacio (Wonder), Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer), Linda Sue Park (A Long Walk to Water), and many more. Not all heroes wear capes. Some heroes teach martial arts. Others talk to ghosts. A few are inventors or soccer players. They're also sisters, neighbors, and friends. Because heroes come in many shapes and sizes. But they all have one thing in common: they make the world a better place. Published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, this vibrant anthology features thirteen acclaimed authors whose powerful and diverse voices show how small acts of kindness can save the day. So pay attention, because a hero could be right beside you. Or maybe the hero is you. AUTHORS INCLUDE: William Alexander, Joseph Bruchac, Lamar Giles, Mike Jung, Hena Khan, Juana Medina, Ellen Oh, R. J. Palacio, Linda Sue Park and Anna Dobbin, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Ronald L. Smith, Rita Williams-Garcia, and short-story contest winner Suma Subramaniam "As with the two previous anthologies from We Need Diverse Books, this collection admirably succeeds in making available to all readers a wider and more representative range of American voices and protagonists." -The Washington Post

School Library Journal

Gr 3-6--Heroes with superhuman powers wear capes and save the world from destruction. That's not the kind of hero this book focuses on--instead it's centered on small acts of kindness. Everybody could use a little kindness; these moments can make all the difference. Sometimes it's something as simple as helping a fellow student get a passing grade to stay on the soccer team. Sometimes it's putting yourself in someone else's shoes and understanding where they are coming from. Or sometimes it's going back for a best friend in a dangerous situation. This anthology features thirteen prominent #OwnVoices authors, edited by We Need Diverse Books board member Rhuday-Perkovich. These short works of fiction cross genres from contemporary to fantasy to mystery, making this a great fit for school and public libraries. VERDICT A great anthology with a message of spreading kindness and hope.--Katy Hershberger, School Library Journal

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Compiled in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, this collection of 13 stories by well-known writers for young people showcases everyday heroes of varied gender identity, ethnicity, class, and neurodiversity who resolve a plethora of issues, both otherworldly and mundane. Among its most notable entries are Hena Khan's "Home," in which a girl named Aleena grapples with the wonder and frustration of living with her newly adopted little brother; Lamar Giles's "Ellison's CORNucopia: A Logan County Story," in which African-American twin girls Leen and "Wiki" use their mechanical inventions and impressive memory, respectively, to solve the case of a stolen cash box at the local farmers' market; and Mike Jung's "Thrown," about Stevie, an Asian-American martial arts student with autism, who struggles with the transition from kids' to teen and adult aikido classes, and finds anchoring support from adults in his life, some on the spectrum. With central characters as diverse as the expansive, realistic worlds they inhabit, these accomplished stories triumphantly redefine the meaning of the word hero. Ages 8-12. (July)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
July 20, 2019
Age Range
8 - 12 years

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