Like Lava in My Veins

Listening Library. Jul. 2023. 17p. $22. ISBN 9780593794593.
K-Gr 3–Prolific author-for-all-ages Barnes’s first graphic novel, Victory. Stand! Raising My Fist for Justice, made him a 2022 National Book Award Finalist. From real-life hero (and coauthor) Tommie Smith, Barnes pivots to fictional superhero Bobby Beacon who’s got a few real-life challenges to face, including those universally familiar to all kids, like anger, and those all-too-familiar for kids of color, like racism. As a new student at the Academy of Kids with Awesome Abilities, Bobby’s name already shines: “Beacons lead people and show them the way.” With the gentle help of his teacher, Bobby learns to harness his “power of light and fire”—and avoid being shipped to the Institute of Supervillains. Narrator Fouhey—fabulously versatile, especially with youthful titles—deftly adapts his voice over an impressive, complementary soundtrack featuring synthesized beats, bangs, and door slams. Fouhey even embodies Miss Brooklyn’s recommended five deep breaths—a clever reminder for all readers (even reviewers!). For maximum enjoyment (and enlightenment), pair audio with print: Shawn Martinborough’s energetic art adds details impossible to aurally showcase, including Bobby’s extensive collection of Star Wars figures and that even superheroes (like Sincere) need their inhaler.
VERDICT Libraries should prepare to meet high demand in all formats. Perfect for reluctant readers.

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