Be a Star, Wonder Woman!

Be a Star, Wonder Woman!, written by Michael Dahl and vibrantly illustrated by Omar Lozano, shows readers that there’s quite a bit in common between a young girl starting school and everyone’s favorite Amazonian princess.

While this little girl is encouraging two new friends to share, Wonder Woman is restoring peace in the city. Just as the girl must be brave as she attempts to conquer a rope ladder, Wonder Woman must do the same when battling one of her worst enemies. And both the little girl and Wonder Woman need to know that it’s okay to admit when they need help. After all, even the most courageous hero needs a friend now and then.

This little girl is learning that she has everything she needs to be a hero, just like Wonder Woman!


This awesome book is great for Wonder Woman fans (like myself) and those looking for an inspirational book for children–girls or boys–starting school. I not only plan to add this book to my school library, but I also have every intention of purchasing a copy for my niece who starts kindergarten in the fall.

Be a Star, Wonder Woman! emphasizes some of the most important things that a child (or adult) should strive to be: prepared, kind, brave, honest, strong, and heroic. It doesn’t really take much to exhibit these traits. Not all of us can be Wonder Woman, but everyone can be a hero in her/his own way.

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Hero

Leo Biggs often imagines himself as a gladiator, fighting in the Roman amphitheater and trying to win the favor of Jupiter. In real life, though, Leo is a bit of an outcast. He only has one real friend–at least, just one human friend–but Leo longs to be seen as brave, popular, and extraordinary. And one day, he thinks he has his chance…

After a rather interesting episode at school, Leo gains the notice of Warren Miller, probably the coolest guy at school. Warren invites Leo to hang out after school…but Leo has to prove himself worthy of being in Warren’s crowd. Even though Leo is hesitant about what is asked of him, he’s willing to do just about anything to be popular. Leo couldn’t know, though, that his actions would lead to more trouble than even his powerful imagination could conjure.

One day, Warren and his crew try to convince Leo to have a little “fun” with Jack Pepper, his neighbor’s dog. Leo knows what’s going on is wrong, and he doesn’t really want to participate. What happens next changes everything Leo feels about himself and what the people in town think of him. Leo takes credit for saving Jack Pepper’s life (even though it was really the other way around), and now everyone thinks he’s some kind of hero. Only Leo, Warren and friends, and little Jack Pepper know the truth…but none of them are talking.

Leo is enjoying his new status as a town hero, but part of him knows that he’s living a lie. One day, however, something happens that puts Leo’s vision of himself as a hero to the test. A catastrophic event hits the town, and Jack Pepper is put in real danger. Leo knows it’s up to him to save this little dog, but what can one boy do in a truly perilous situation?

Will Leo finally step up and be the hero that Jack Pepper needs? Will Leo–or anyone else–ever reveal what actually happened when he “saved” Jack Pepper to begin with? And will Leo ever discover what it really means to be a hero? Answer these questions and many more when you read Hero by Sarah Lean.

Hero is a good book for illustrating the importance of being true to oneself and standing up for what’s right…even when it’s not easy. This book also emphasizes the value of all types of friendships–those with kids, adults, and even animals. As the story progresses, Leo begins to realize that real friends are loyal, even when he doesn’t deserve it, and he needs to do whatever is necessary to prove his loyalty as well. Sometimes, that simply means being upfront and honest about his mistakes and doing whatever he can to make things right.

I think Hero is a good fit for most elementary and middle grade readers. It deals with issues like bullying, honesty, popularity, imagination, bravery, friendship, and, of course, caring for animals. I’m sure this book will be a big hit in my own school library.

Touchdown Trouble

As you may have guessed, Touchdown Trouble is about football.

Sam and his team, the Cowboys, are on the verge of an undefeated season and a great shot at the division championships. The only team standing in their way is the Giants, also undefeated. The two teams face off in an action-packed intense game. In the fourth quarter, the Giants are leading, and the Cowboys have to really work to get a win. In the final seconds of the game, Sam scores to win the game for the Cowboys.

After reviewing the game tape, however, Sam and his teammates discover that a mistake was made. Their final touchdown should not have counted. The officials didn’t catch the mistake. Neither did the coaches, fans, or Giants players. What should Sam and his team do? Should they give the game to the Giants, knowing it ruins the Cowboys’ undefeated season and chance at being champions? Or should they keep things quiet since no one but them realizes what happened? What would you do?

This is a great book for teaching ethical and responsible behavior in both sports and life in general. The boys in this book were able to relate their dilemma to a real-life event, the 1940 football game between Dartmouth and Cornell. Cornell faced the same situation as the Cowboys in this book, and the boys were able to look to that story for guidance. The author provided a detailed account of the Dartmouth-Cornell situation at the end of the book. I think this book is a great read for any athlete, from peewee to pro, about doing the right thing and preserving the integrity of the game.