In this children’s book told in graphic-novel/comic-book style, Rae has a disability that all can see, but she also has a secret superpower she has yet to share.
Rae is heading off for her first day of school. Born with a short right arm and two fingers on one hand, Rae has learned from her parents that’s it’s OK to be different. Her father has Rae repeat daily affirmations: “You are smart, you are strong, you are capable…you are a warrior.” But her parents don’t know that Rae feels a jolt at the word “capable.” Rae’s difference, she notes, “didn’t just make her unique…it made her super.”
At school, Rae faces curiosity about her disability, but she quickly wins everyone over. When outdoor recess is cancelled because of rain, the kids become gloomy and Rae decides to use her superpower to banish the clouds. The kids happily spill outside, and Rae confides in a new friend that she believes the stares and questions about her arm are turned into energy, creating her superpower. Later, she wonders if there are other “Capables” out there, in this first of a planned series.
The author’s goal is worthy, and the way Rae handles herself with the curious kids is admirable. However, the story asks a lot of young readers. The abstract concepts—e.g., turning a disability into a superpower through energy—and the often-high level wording (“Miss Meek and the students all whipped their heads around to see what the source of the brilliant illumination was”) make the book more suitable for an older child. Yet it’s hard to imagine an older child being drawn to a story about a five-year-old.
Using graphic-novel/comic-book style is a fun way to bring a children’s picture book into the 21st century, and Rae has an appealing look. With simplification of content to attract early readers, or revision to target an older audience, the story’s message could resonate widely.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.