Not All Heroes Wear Capes by Ben Brooks

Ben Brooks is a surprising author. I say surprising because I never quite know what he is going to write next. His first book was Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different, a book like Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, with one-page stories about males who have achieved incredible things. He has also written two children’s fiction titles, The Impossible Boy and The Greatest Inventor, both of which are fantastic stories. Ben’s latest book, Not All Heroes Wear Capes, is an inspiring read that shows you how you can be a hero.

In this book Ben Brooks shows us ten things we can learn from ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Ben opens his book by defining a hero as ‘someone who wants to live in a better world and decides to do something about it.’ This book is full of people just like this and Ben shows readers the difference that they could make by taking small steps. Some of the people mentioned in this book are inspired by what they have read in books, others by what they have learnt at school, or just by the injustice they witness in their own homes. Ben shows us that dreams are important, that no act of kindness is too small, that every talent can be a superpower, and that we should stand up for what we believe in. We should discover everything that we can, but also share what we know with others. We should look for others who need our help, and if there’s something that you wish exists but doesn’t yet, then you should try and make it a reality.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes is a fascinating book that will inspire readers to make the world a better place. It is a positive book that makes you consider what small changes you could make that would make a big difference. Ben Brooks’ writing style is really engaging and he makes you want go out and do something extraordinary. As well as using lots of examples of real-life extraordinary people, Ben also makes the ideas relatable, so you can see how you can use them in your own life. Ben has included some great quotes from people throughout history, but there are plenty of pearls of wisdom in Ben’s writing too.

This is a nonfiction book that you want to read from cover-to-cover, rather than dipping in and out, and I found that I had read half the book before I even realised. It is the sort of book that you could use with Years 5-8 and plan a whole unit of work around it, thinking about the ways that you could make your community a better place.

One of the things I really like about this book is the way that Ben keeps coming back to the way that books can inspire people to do great things. I love his idea of dreams drifting in ‘through eyes and ears, like seeds looking for places to grow.’

Nigel Baines’ illustrations are the perfect match for the book and they break up the text nicely. Nigel has created cool, short comics to illustrate the stories of the extraordinary people who feature in the book. I especially like his illustration of Captain Sir Tom Moore giving the thumbs up.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes is a book that will inspire both kids and adults, and would be the perfect book for older children and their parents to share together.

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