Finding Your Hero is an endearing and meaningful little book written by Dr. Jamie Schwandt, a man who is a former foster child who now advocates for foster children, including doing a wealth of research on the subject complete with providing strategies to help kids cope and thrive, not how to just get by. The almost superhero comics-style illustrations provide visual meaning for a foster child in addition to the words. Much is conveyed by nuanced simplicity.
A little boy, Jamie, finds himself feeling all alone in the world after his parents divorced, and he had to live with a dad unable to care for him. He then finds himself in the world of foster care, struggling to find strength, belonging, and meaning in his life. One by one, authority figures, illustrated as superheroes, take on his battles, portrayed as unpleasant phantoms, to fight with and for him. Jamie slowly overcomes his fears and insecurities to grow up to be a young man who has fulfilled all of his childhood goals. The overriding theme of the story is, “Dream Big, Think Positive, and Take Action!”
If a positive influence in a foster child’s life sits down and reads this with him or her, there are embedded suggestions for them as well and even a checklist of sorts at the end for adults seeking to be an extraordinary authority figure in a foster child’s life. These could even pertain somewhat to children who have already been adopted out of the foster care system.
Ultimately, Jamie himself is both the present and the potential future for foster children learning how to survive in their present situations as well as flourish into adulthood in remarkable ways. The story is straightforward and short but powerful and speaks directly to foster children without talking down to them or patronizing them. Such a short children’s book as well-written and intelligently illustrated as this one can have a lasting impression!