July 18, 2017

What's My Superpower?

Written by Aviaq Johnston
Illustrated by Tim Mack
Inhabit Media
978-1-77227-140-9
32 pp.
Ages 4-7
July 2017

Every child wants to fit in but also wants to excel at something.  Nalvana is no different. But while she enjoys playing outdoors and riding her bike in her "small town where winter is always longer than summer" (pg. 2), she thinks about having superpowers and wears a yellow blanket and snowmobiling goggles as her costume.
From What's My Superpower? 
by Aviaq Johnston 
illus. by Tim Mack
But, when she sees her friends doing extraordinary things, which she always commends them on, like running fast or flying through the air, sculpting with snow and stone or holding their breath underwater, Nalvana is perplexed by her own lack of superpower.  Over and over again, she tells her mother about her friends' amazing strengths and asks what hers might be.  Her mother, unruffled, encourages Nalvana to be patient, sure that her superpower will be revealed in time.
From What's My Superpower? 
by Aviaq Johnston 
illus. by Tim Mack
Just as might be expected, Nalvana's superpower was always evident.  It is as natural as breathing for her so she just needed to have it pointed out.  Fortunately, her mother can see the truly gifted child Nalvana is.
From What's My Superpower? 
by Aviaq Johnston 
illus. by Tim Mack
Ensuring that Nalvana's superpower is not one of the athletic or other overt skills that are normally so admired in our current society that revere celebrity and personality, Aviaq Johnston has made her story one of inclusivity, not exclusivity.  Everyone has a superpower if we look beyond winning awards and competitions.  Everyone has a strength or two that sets them above the rest.  And Nalvana's superpower truly makes her a superhero to others.

Aviaq Johnston's story about Nalvana is also about her milieu which is the basis for her experiences.  The little girl compares Davidee's speed to a Ski-Doo or to the wind on a blizzardy day, and expounds on Joanasie's snow sculpting and inuksuk building similar to his dad's skill as a carver.  Her Arctic home is as unique as the young girl in its offerings.  Tim Mack embeds Nalvana's story in that community, right down to her husky puppy.  And though the palette of turquoise blue-green, golds and salmon may appear more southwestern than northern, it's plays up the natural world in which Nalvana's journey of discovery takes place.

I may not tell you the answer to Nalvana's question of What's My Superpower? but suffice it to say it is something remarkable and terrific, and her mother, her friends and now readers will all know what it is.

No comments:

Post a comment