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Book Reviews

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Finding Brooklyn written by Dan Sadlowski and illustrated by Allison Pierce

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An independently published picture book about a young girl discovering what makes her “The Next Great Superhero,” Finding Brooklyn, written by Dan Sadlowski and illustrated by Allison Pierce, delves into the qualities of what makes for a great superhero. We’re all familiar with the Justice League and X-Men, but what about us? Do we have a chance at becoming superheroes?

According to her peers, there is nothing special about Brooklyn. She wears a pin with a heart on it and skeleton gloves she found one day. But that’s not special enough. Brooklyn is also a daydreamer, getting caught in class with a question she has no idea how to answer: “Who will be The Next Big Superhero?”

Brooklyn answers, “I’m not sure, but I do dream that one day it could be me.” Her peers laugh, and Brooklyn feels low. With no one to turn to, as she’s an orphan, Brooklyn remembers that superheroes must be “brave in a most troublesome hour.” When the Wickets, a super villain, enters the picture, Brooklyn steps up. Her heart button and skeleton gloves glow!

But those are easily destroyed by the Wickets. Brooklyn has to find what really makes her a superhero in this most troublesome hour. And from such a little girl, what could that be?

Brooklyn is relatable to many young and old readers. We all want to be something BIG. We all want to do something IMPORTANT. The internal journey that Brooklyn takes is one that’s familiar to almost all of us. It begs the question: What is it about us, as individuals, that make us a superhero or “AWE-MAZING”?

The plot of Finding Brooklyn is simple and straightforward: an origin story of a superhero with a villainous showdown that proves everyone wrong. While this simplicity gives way to predictable events that act as touchstones that must be addressed in any origin story, the fact that the protagonist is a girl adds to the repertoire of strong female characters. The world of superheroes is largely male-dominated, but Brooklyn’s presence and heart bring her story to life. The book leaves me wanting to know more about Brooklyn as a character and how the events in this story affect her life from here on out; much like every other superhero story—what’s next?

The art is enjoyable with pops of color in the text to emphasize certain words. There is a lot of white space, but color is used very purposefully. Only certain traits of characters are colored; the rest are black-and-white sketches. This makes the full color, yet simple palette, of Brooklyn stand out more, especially when the Wickets shows up. And when things go dark, the pages do too, dramatizing the showdown. So, while plain at first sight, it’s obvious that Pierce gave great consideration to color to provide emphasis and to set the tone for each scene.

This is a great book for young readers, who like or even dislike the more popular superheroes. The focus on the average person allows readers to relate to Brooklyn and see themselves as something more than just a “normal” person.

Find Finding Brooklyn here.