Reviews /

A Hero Like Me

Authored by Angela Joy and John Reid
Illustrated by Leire Salaberria
Published by Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd

A Hero Like Me is a powerful, lyrical picturebook that explores the concept of a hero and where they can be found. This story is told through prose and is inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 and the toppling of the Edward Colson statue in Bristol.

A Hero Like Me is told through the eyes of a little girl, who, each day walks past the statue of slave trader Edward Colson. She reflects on the values of a hero: justice, kindness, peace and courage. This man, who build his fortune upon the enslavement of African people in the 1600s has a place on a plinth despite sharing no attributes of a real hero. The girl searches high and low for a real hero, until she joins her family in a protest. It is here that she finally sees a hero, someone who stands up for what they believe in and empowers others.

Joy, Reid and Salaberria celebrate activism, hope and the power of protest in creating change. They invite readers to consider the values that we hold dear when considering someone a hero and whether the heroes of the past have a place in society now. This is a thought-provoking story, with many opportunities for children to discuss the purpose of public statues and whether these figures still reflect our core beliefs. If the purpose of a public statue is to glorify or celebrate a figurehead’s achievements and beliefs, then should they be protected even when their beliefs have no place in today’s society? The text offers a lovely springboard to discuss children’s own personal heroes and how they have demonstrated justice, kindness, peace or courage.

I would place A Hero Like Me in upper KS2 or KS3. The text refers to the death of George Floyd and includes helpful information describing the real events behind the story. Upon reading the historical information, children may have further questions about racism, slavery, and police brutality. This picturebook would therefore be best read with the presence of an adult, to allow for open conversation. Joy, Reid and Salaberria leave a lasting impression of hope for change and that kindness, courage, justice and peace will continue to be searched for and upheld. An inspirational and important read for all.