The Life Heroic: How To Unleash Your Most Amazing Self

Zest/Lerner/. Aug. 2019. 144p. notes. Tr $37.32. ISBN 9781541578609; pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781942186250.
Gr 4-9–Svoboda has interviewed individuals and searched through media to find examples of young people who have stepped up and become heroes. Along with these heartfelt stories, the book includes helpful tips, steps, and messages about how a simple action can make a world of difference to someone else. The narrative has a pattern of stating a particular message or action that can be taken and then giving an example. Some stories highlight well-known figures such as Olympian Dominique Moceanu and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. Svoboda emphasizes that anyone can be a hero, whether doing something as simple as providing soccer balls to underprivileged children or recognizing the need for assistance in a life-and-death situation. There are also cautions against shouldering burdens alone and encouragement to always seek help in a dangerous situation. The layout uses different font sizes to highlight certain points and make it easier for readers to retain information. For example, in the chapter “Seek Mentors and Role Models,” many phrases are in a larger font including “these kinds of people impress us profoundly.” The headings throughout the chapters also break up the text and could be nice discussion points if reading with an adult.
VERDICT A unique look at how to motivate middle grade students to become aware of what they can do to help their community and the world around them. Recommended for libraries with strong middle grade patronage and outreach

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