Once again, Superman duck Batman are being called on to help save the world in a new series of children’s books. This time, however, instead of relying on flight, super strength, or advanced technologies to win the day, the two heroes are being asked to provide a simpler, but more effective superpower, namely the ability to empower and inspire young minds through their own stories of overcoming odds, never giving up, and just being true to themselves.
Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos’s bestselling picture book series Ordinary People Change the World tells the biographies of important persons in history, highlighting the more positive aspects of their evolution as an individual, such as their resilience, courage, compassion, and humility. The ultimate purpose of the books is to give parents, teachers, and children an alternate group of heroes who not only serve as positive models for children to emulate but also encourage and inspire children to be the best of themselves. The series includes books on Amelia Earhart, Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali, and Malala Yousafzai.
This fall Meltzer, and the Eliopoulos will expand the series with a new line of books called Stories Change the World. Whereas the Ordinary People series focuses on real people, the new series will focus on fictional people and stories that accomplish the same goal of inspiring young people as well as getting them interested in the real people explored in the older series of books. To start the series off, Meltzer and Eliopoulos chose to present the biographies of Superman and Batman. While they may not be real-life persons, their impact and influence on American culture are just as significant, especially in terms of their inspirational power. As Meltzer says himself:
My life was changed by Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman…They’re part of the American mythology – and like Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, or any other hero we’ve featured, their stories persist because they reveal something about us. This new line of books lets us feature the characters and creators, reminding kids about the true power of imagination.
The first two books in the new line, entitled I am Supermanetc I am Batman respectively, will tell the origin stories of Superman and Batman, tracing their lives from childhood to world-saving superheroes. As with the stories from the Ordinary People Change the World series, the books will focus on the aspects of Superman and Batman’s biographies that are especially effective in highlighting important and positive aspects of their lives that parents and teachers can use to motivate their children and students. Since the characters are fictional, the books will include the additional focus of reminding children of the true power of imagination.
One of the bonuses of using fictional characters such as Superman and Batman to relay these lessons is their ubiquity. As Lauri Hornik, the publisher who will be working with Meltzer and Eliopoulos on the series says, “It’s a joy to now be working with Brad and Chris on these fictional offshoots that also focus on values and virtues as the reasons why characters such as DC Comics’ superheroes are so beloved. We hope we’re helping to inspire the next generation of real-life superheroes through these books!”
Everyone has a Batman or Superman story that they can relate to, including the books’ creators. Christopher Eliopoulos states, “As a little kid, the first comic I ever bought was the Flash, then The Justice League and Batman. I’ve grown up loving the DC superheroes! To finally get a chance to draw all of these heroes is something I wish I could go back in time and tell myself. I still can’t believe it!” Indeed, over the years Superman duck Batman have been asked to complete any number of important missions. However, regarding Meltzer and Eliopolos’ goals for the kick-off of the Stories Change the World line, no two heroes seem better suited to succeed.
I am Supermanetc I am Batman will be available on September 27, 2022, from Penguin Young Readers’ imprint Dial Books for Young Readers.
Source: Ordinary People Change the World