Summary: Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero
Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero has been on my TBR for a while, so it was a pleasure to finally read it! Isaiah’s father has died, leaving behind Isaiah, his mom, and his younger sister, Charlie. Isaiah’s mom is so depressed she’s lost her job — and started drinking too many bottles of wine. Isaiah realizes that they need money if they’ll ever move out of the motel where they’ve had to live since being unable to pay for their home.
Thankfully, Isaiah has his father’s books of poems (even if his own words won’t come anymore), his best friend Sneaky who sells candy at school (and lets Isaiah be his business partner), and the kind people who look out for him once they realize he’s in need. In the end, will Isaiah be the hero of his story?
Isaiah’s situation is heartbreaking, and when I started reading this book, I worried that it would get too sad for me to keep reading. But it doesn’t. Somehow, the author manages to keep things realistic, while keeping the joy and innocence of childhood present throughout the story.
This is a short middle grade book — barely over 200 pages — that packs a punch. The protagonist is also a younger child (10-11 years) dealing with incredibly challenging circumstances and having to be the adult figure for his little sister while his mom tries to free herself from alcoholism after her husband’s death.
Isaiah’s friendship with sneaky, their business savvy, and Isaiah’s love of writing also play a major role in this story. I loved Isaiah’s relationship with his sister, his adoration of his father, and the way he grows throughout the story. Finally, the way his community shows up for him and his mother practically moved me to tears.
Overall: Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero
Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero is a moving, realistic portrayal of the poverty and housing insecurity that can impact a family after the death of a parent. Featuring a likable male protagonist with a love for poetry and a desire to support his mother, this story will tug at your heartstrings. With a younger protagonist (10-11 years old) and short length under 250 pages, this book is perfect for kids in the fourth grade and up!