Cockroach the Superhero chapter books have delighted kids.

One teacher who did a read aloud of Breakfast of Superheroes said the students were so engaged in the book that they didn’t want to interrupt—not even to go to gym class. At the end of the book they spontaneously applauded. It was their favorite read aloud book of the year. What’s special about them? In a New York Times essay (see, Ruth Whippman, author of “America the Anxious,” decried the lack of humanity in boys’ books. She says, the world of boys’ books is one of brute force and mortal combat, a “world that contains almost zero emotional complexity—no interiority, no negotiating or nurturing or friendship dilemmas or internal conflict.” The Cockroach the Superhero series are fun and action-packed, but also deal with serious issues: overcoming fear, discouragement and wanting to give up, being part of a team and being mentored, and facing ridicule (crooks name him “Cockroach,” mocking him because of his silly costume and his clumsiness). Just as importantly, kids love them.

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