Saturday, December 17, 2016

The League of Unexceptional Children by Gitty Daneshavari

The League of Unexceptional Children by Gitty Daneshvari is just the opposite of most kid hero books. In those books, the hero is smart, athletic, exceptional. In this book, well, not so much. Jonathan and Shelley are exceptionally unexceptional. So why are they being chosen to save the country from certain destruction?

To be an ordinary, normal, average, unexceptional child in a world that celebrates first place, the best, top of the class, and so on is tantamount to being invisible.

And because they are invisible they are the perfect spies.

This book is the first in a series of adventure books aimed at young readers. I can't say I was a fan. It was a very quick read and children may like it, but I felt it left so much to be desired. I'm all in favor of celebrating the everyday and helping children to see their own strengths even when they aren't the ones that are most obvious, but I worry that this elevates mediocrity. Everyone can't be class president or a prodigy Nobel prize winner, of course, but straight Cs on a report card is not something I think should be heralded. Be who you are, but be the best you can be.

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