We Could Be Heroes by Margaret Finnegan

81d6NhJuFhL._AC_UY218_ML3_We Could Be Heroes by Margaret Finnegan. Atheneum, 2020. 978153444253

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre:  Realistic fiction

What did you like about the book? Ten year old Hank hates the book his teacher is reading aloud to the class so much that he sets it on fire in the boys’ bathroom. He has autism, and the sad feelings he gets when he hears the story, of a boy trying to hide from Nazis during World War II, are overwhelming. Luckily, he has his rock collection and a loving family to steady him. When a new kid named Maisie befriends Hank, his family is thrilled. But does Maisie only want him as a friend to help steal the neighbor’s dog? Hank learns about the ways friends help each other, and he also learns about dogs. Maisie has strong feelings herself, as she worries about the dog, Booler, who is left tied up in the neighbor’s yard. Booler has epilepsy, and the kids conspire to give him what they think is a better life. Lots of great themes here: friendship, understanding people with autism, getting to know an elderly neighbor, and caring for a dog. Hank is never portrayed with anything but respect, and I think readers will really enjoy getting to know him and how he thinks. Maisie is a dynamite character, and her struggles with epilepsy will also shine a light on invisible disabilities. The book’s title is the name of a song that the two kids sing together, and it’s like their theme song. A lovely, funny book that celebrates two atypical kids and their heart-felt adventures.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  For 9-12 yr old readers who enjoy books with dogs and/or neurodivergent characters.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ?

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: March 16, 2020

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