In the Philippines, April 9 is Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor). Araw ng Kagitingan is a holiday celebrating our brave heroes during World War II. This is why I’m choosing to share Superhero Nio this week.
I first discovered this book during a trip to The Parenting Emporium in Manila. The young child and his dog in their very own Superman-ish costumes caught my eye. And then there was the interesting play of words. The main character’s name is Nio, which in Tagalog sounds like the word for “yours”. The Tagalog translation means Your superhero.
I didn’t have time to browse through the book while at the shop, so I made an impromptu decision to purchase it. I’m very happy that I did, for reasons you’ll know in a bit.
The story starts off with an introduction of Superhero Nio’s superpowers. His eyes, for example, can see if a person is good or bad. His ears can hear what people are saying, his mouth speaks only good words and his hands are for helping people. He continues sharing his different body parts and how he uses them for good.
Then we are introduced to other every day superheroes. These other superheroes are people we generally see, who use their own skills for the good of the people! Some examples that are mentioned are the helpers, drivers, gardeners, our families, teachers, firemen, pastors, and more. Even sick children were mentioned! In the story, the narrator shares the traits of these heroes and how they help better the society. The story also mentions the children who are sick because “they show bravery and the will to survive by battling their illness everyday.” How inspiring!
The story ends not with a moral lesson, but a reminder of the super powers we all have. Superhero Nio’s weapons aren’t guns or swords. Instead, it is his eyes, ears, mouth, hands, brain and heart—something we all have as well! And we all can become superheroes by using these to help others.
The author Christine Bersola-Babao wrote this book with her son Nio in mind. His love for superheroes inspired her to write a book about it. She dedicates this book to her son, as shared on the third page of the book:
And at the end of the book, Child Specialist/Behavioral Therapist Jhon Carandang explains the importance of superheroes in children’s lives.
I’m rereading these pages at a perfect time. L1 currently likes to pretend she’s Superman (or supergirl) and flies off everywhere in the house! She also likes to list down a few of her characteristics as a superhero. (I’m fast! I’m strong! I’m brave!)
And this quote he shared from Social Psychologist Jeff Greenberg really struck a chord with me. “Kids are pretty powerless and vulnerable, so pretending they are superheroes is one way for them to gain a sense of confidence and competence in a positive way.”
It makes sense. When my daughter turns into Superhero mode, she “flies” off and starts tumbling, protecting her younger sister from invisible foes and hides behind the bed to protect herself. She doesn’t just think she’s a superhero—in that moment, she probably really believes it.
Jhon Carandang details the reasons and importance of encouraging children to admire superheroes. He also encourages us parents to pattern ourselves to these superheroes. By doing so, we become our children’s model for what a real life superhero is like.
If you liked this post, here’s a pin for all you pinners out there 🙂
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it! For more children’s books from the Philippines and the rest of Asia, click this photo below: