A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The League of Secret Heroes series, set in World War II, delivers a lot of history and insight as its tale unfolds. In the finale, Boots, women aviators, and in particular Black women aviators facing discrimination for their sex and their skin color, take center stage in the Infinity Trinity's exploits. Mae's pilot aunts are training future Tuskegee Airmen. There's a lot of detail about flying a plane, using gravity to your advantage, and related skills. A resource-packed appendix offers photos, stories, and reading recommendations about Bessie Coleman and other women who didn't let prejudice keep them from the skies, and what they went on to accomplish; also the Double V campaign centered on the the fact that Black people were fighting discrimination abroad and at home.
Strong messages of family, friendship, courage, teamwork, and rising above your fears. Also overcoming prejudice and discrimination.
Positive Role Models
The League of Secret Heroes series is a strong, exuberant celebration of girl power overcoming adversity and evil. Except for Star/Astra, who's a boy and also a dog, all the hero characters in Boots- - whether superheroes or regular people doing their best -- are female, and a strong connection sustains them through many perils. As Josie says, "They used their brains, their wits, their own special skills as best they could. And they showed Mae, Akiko, and me that we could too." As part of a desperate move to free the imprisoned superheroes in France, the girls steal a plane (which Mae knows how to fly) from a training base in England.
Violence & Scariness
Supervillains are holding legions of superheroes prisoner and draining their powers -- which has a lot to do with the fact that Nazis are running rampant as World War II rages. Protagonist Josie's father has already perished in battle, and protagonists Akiko and Mae constantly worry about their family members in the service, in constant danger. Mae's pilot aunts are kidnapped and imprisoned by a supervillain. Supervillains wreak cartoonish but catastrophic violence, including turning their victims to metal, and superheroes respond with assorted weapons including fire.
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Products & Purchases
The girls are fond of Lorna Doone cookies.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Boots is the third.book and finale in Kate Hannigan and Patrick Spaziante's League of Secret Heroes narrative/graphic novel hybrid series, set during World War II. It features three tween girls -- Irish-American recent immigrant Josie, uprooted Japanese American Akiko, and brainiac Mae, who's Black and lives with her formidable grandmother, a librarian. (Each book's title refers to an essential article of superhero attire.) Brought together by their love of the superheroes whose absence seems to be letting the forces of evil have their way with the world, they've found their way into the world of spies, codebreaking, and intrigue -- and also acquired superpowers of their own. The previous two books have focused on Josie and Akiko, so it's Mae's moment to shine, and shine she does, revealing herself to be a skilled pilot (thanks to her aviator aunts) in spite of her fears. Not to mention the prejudice that prevented many women and Black people from being able to fly in the first place. There's a good amount of (literally) cartoonish violence as superheroes and supervillains trade bolts, death rays, fire, etc., and hordes of superheroes are imprisoned and stripped of their powers. Good ultimately triumphs -- it's a superhero story after all -- with strong messages of teamwork, friendship, and why everyone's individual talents and skills matter, a lot.
Is It Any Good?
Kate Hannigan's lively World War II superhero trilogy's rousing finale celebrates brains, teamwork, diversity, girl power -- and how they're more than a match for supervillains, Nazis, and prejudice. Boots celebrates the exploits (and footwear) of Nazi-busting women and girls, with and without superpowers, working together to get the job done. Impossible or not.
"We were going to find Zenobia, and we'd do it without our capes, masks, or boots. We'd do it with our brains, our wits, and our courage. And if, somehow, we could free the missing superheroes to return to the skies and fight the world's evildoers once again, then all of us -- including our families -- would be safe."
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