Title: Heroes Without Capes
Author: Shantanu Duttagupta
Illustrator: Tanvi Bhat
Publisher: Scholastic India
Age group: 6 – 8 years
Since March 2020, we’ve cribbed and complained non-stop – the unending chores, the WFH, online schooling, masks we can’t breathe in, zero socialization, canceled vacations. It was as if someone had hit the pause button. Not everyone had paused their lives though, as this lovely book reminds us.
Doctors, healthcare workers, essential service providers, journalists, policemen, vegetable sellers risked (and continue to risk) their lives each day to ensure that we got all the necessities we needed. Teachers adapted their teaching methods, learnt new skills overnight so that their students did not miss out on education. Each one of these people is indeed a hero without a cape and is deserving of our utmost respect.
The book does a brilliant job of portraying them as heroes, through the use of appropriate superheroes, who abandoned their capes and provided superhero strength to the common man to do extraordinary deeds. The text is simple and was easy for my 4 year old to understand. What I really liked was how the author had related the superhero and their superhero tasks to their calling after the pandemic.
So, Sushi-Mooshie who swims around in the ocean solving fishy problems, whispers to the teachers and tells them what to do, while Sun-Ya Ignis, who has the fire as her father and the sun as her mum, whispers to the policewoman and gives them strength.
The lovely, carefully chosen names of the superheroes, sparked the imagination and curiosity of my 4 year old, who tried his best to come up with a few more superheroes who must have whispered in our ears. The one he came up with was Superhero Chamak Chamak, who goes around keeping the world clean normally, whispered in the ears of Deepak Uncle (our garbage collector) and told him what to do.
If you want your child to develop empathy and respect towards other professions, especially these ones to whom we owe a huge debt, please get this book! The book will also make them kinder and help you have conversations on the pandemic, the hardships that everyone has faced and what we can all do to make it easier.
My favourite “hero without a cape” depicted in the book was an author, who dreams up new stories and writes books to spread love and cheer amongst everyone. Read the book and let me know which is your favourite superhero without a cape?
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