The Purim Superhero

Posted by Kelly on June 19, 2013

Cover of The Purim Superhero

Elisabeth Kushner. The Purim Superhero. Il. by Mike Byrne. Kar-Ben Publishing, 2013 Hardcover. 32p. $17.95. 978-0-7613-9061-9.

Picture books with fun, age-appealing storylines and a valuable, universally applicable lesson in which the queer parents (in this case two fathers, Daddy and Abba) are not a source of conflict but just another kind of supportive family structure are delightful to see.

Nate, who seems to be six or seven, wants to dress up like an alien for Purim, but all his friends are going as superheroes. After a conversation with his dads about the risks and rewards of staying true to your individuality, he finds a unique costume compromise, and his friends agree that it’s more fun to do what you want than what other people want you to do. The writing is clear and concise, well-suited for shorter attention spans but not patronizing for older readers.

There are so many topics covered by this short and sweet book. Kids interested in superheroes and aliens will enjoy Nate’s quandry and might get some new ideas for Halloween or Purim. Jewish kids can get a lot out of seeing their religious traditions presented in a way that’s not didactic; it is simply a part of Nate’s life experience. Kids with queer parents will see families similar to their own without any explanation or apology. And kids who are queer, gender-nonconforming, or otherwise unique will receive a powerful message about the benefits of being yourself, without any warnings about the stress and trauma that sometimes comes along with those lessons.

This book is highly recommended for libraries serving patrons eight years and under.

Reviewer: Kyle Lukoff, Librarian

Corlears School, New York City

Categories: Youth

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