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Yaba Baker
Yaba Baker, author
Cameron Justus (CJ) is a 12-year-old boy given superpowers to fight the greatest evil the earth has ever known. An evil focused on destroying all of humanity. CJ’s one weakness is his anger. When Super CJ gets angry he loses his powers and must calm down before his powers return. The Super CJ story teaches children that making decisions while you are angry is usually a recipe for disaster. "The Adventures of Super CJ" is an entertaining story providing lessons in anger management that will help any parent, teacher, or mentor
In this charming graphic novel for middle schoolers, Cameron Justus, (CJ) a near-genius boy with a hair-trigger temper, gets imbued with the power of a Lightbearer of the Universe. But that comes with one major downfall: when he reacts with anger, his power is greatly dimmed. After being suspended for punching a classmate, CJ and his dog Rex find themselves in front of the Guardians of the Universe, who praise his good heart but call out his problem with anger management. (Understandably weirded out, CJ at first tells them “I am saying no to any type of drug you guys are pushing.”) Soon, CJ and resourceful Rex, also gifted with special powers (like talking), take on an evil force with the power to control inanimate objects, leading to memorable encounters with national monuments—including the statue of a founding father who takes a classic comic book swing at CJ.

Baker deftly delivers the overarching message—that anger fuels poor choices—without sounding preachy, a balance that middle schoolers will appreciate. The snappy dialogue will tickle the funny bones of both adults and kids, especially the chatter between dog and boy. Rex’s advice on controlling anger: “Try taking deep breaths and counting to ten. That’s what I do to keep from biting you when you take forever to walk me.” Elsewhere, CJ laments, “If my Mom and Dad found out I destroyed the Lincoln Memorial AND the Jefferson Memorial, I will be grounded until I am 35.”

Charming full-color graphics from Pratyush and Rituparna Chatterjee perfectly complement the tale, drawing readers into the short but impactful story– which strikes a nice balance between the real world, with angry mothers and principals and childhood fights, and fantasy elements like talking dogs, fireballs, and giant household objects. Kids will happily consider the importance of staying calm while reading and rereading this appealing offering.

Takeaway: This middle grade graphic novel’s message about reining in anger will please superhero-minded readers of all ages.

Great for fans of: Frank Cottrell Boyce’s the Astounding Broccoli Boy, Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A