________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 12. . . November 24, 2017


What’s My Superpower?

Aviaq Johnston. Illustrated by Tim Mack.
Iqaluit, NU: Inhabit Media, 2017.
32 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-77227-140-9.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Stephanie Johnson.

***1/2 /4


“Do you think I’ll ever have a superpower?” Nalvana asked.

“I don’t know, Panik. Maybe,” her mother said with a smile.

Nalvana always thought about what it would be like to have superpowers. Everywhere she went, she wore a yellow cape made from a blanket and a pair of snowmobiling goggles resting on her head.

On the first day of school, Nalvana was in gym class when a boy named Davidee ran into the gym so quickly he was just a blur. All the other kids tried to race him, but he was faster than all the kids in the class.

“Davidee, you have a superpower!” Nalvana excitedly told him. “You can run faster than a Ski-Doo!”

“Do you think that’s true?” Davidee asked her, beaming.

“I know it’s true!” said Nalvana. “But I wonder what my superpower is.”


Nalvana is a quirky, charming girl who loves to play around her town dressed up as a superhero. Alas, Nalvana does not know what her superpower is, but she is very good at finding out what other people’s powers are. She discovers a boy faster than a snowmobile, a girl who can fly off swing sets and even a boy who can hold his breath like a fish. The more superpowers she sees, the more frustrated Nalvana gets as it begins to look as though she is the only one without a power. At long last, Nalvana’s mother discovers what her power is: to make others feel good about themselves. Nalvana hears this and smiles, knowing this is a “good superpower to have.”

     This lovely picture book immediately draws the reader in with the fantastic, colourful illustrations. Tim Mack creates characters that you would want to hug; they have a cozy, happy feeling about them that just makes What’s My Superpower? a pleasure to look at. The colours are bright yet have muted tones in them so the pictures don’t jar the eye.

     The story, itself, is a simple idea about self-discovery, but it is told in such a positive manner that readers don’t get the dejected, sad section that often appears in picture books with this theme. Nalvana is a girl everyone can relate to regardless of sex or age. One of the best features of What’s My Superpower? is the insertion of Inuktitut words and names, and a glossary is even provided in the back for readers. What’s My Superpower? is a great picture book that seamlessly integrates diversity into a fun yet meaningful story.

Highly Recommended.

Stephanie Johnson is a graduate of the Master of Library and Information Studies Program from the University of Alberta and is the Director of Devon Public Library in Devon, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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