Ever wonder what makes superheroes so… super? Mike DeLorenzo, a teacher at Hopewell Elementary School, aimed to answer just that in his newly published book: “The Super Guide to Becoming a Superhero.”
This inspirational story leads readers young and old through the steps to becoming just as super as the heroes they grew up watching. Characters include Gio, Maria, Bryce, and Grace; everyday kids searching for the super strengths inside of them. In “The Super Guide to Becoming a Superhero,” the reader experiences just how powerful we can be. The world needs super people now more than ever!
DeLorenzo is a relatively new teacher at HES and originally from New Jersey. His passion for picture books was ignited after beginning his teaching career in the fall of 2020. While teaching through a global pandemic, he became so inspired by his students’ love of picture books, he began drafting his own.
“After several months of daily read-alouds, I became fascinated with this genre of text and the tremendous impact they can have on young readers,” DiLorenzo told MercerMe. “As a result, I decided to craft my own text with a focus on uplifting student confidence and self-image through the lens of superheroes. Having begun my teaching career in the midst of a pandemic, I quickly realized that while academic growth is a priority, students must feel safe and comfortable in order for academic achievement to occur.”
Within months, this led to the creation of his first picture book: “The Super Guide to Becoming a Superhero.” In addition to his passion for education, DeLorenzo enjoys going on outdoor adventures and spending time with family and friends.
MercerMe asked DiLorenzo a few questions about his experience with reading and with writing a book as a teacher:
Were you inspired by your students when writing the story?
“My current and former students continue to inspire me each and every day, which is one of the many reasons why I love the field I am in. During the fall of 2020, as I was just beginning my teaching career, I became fascinated by the power of a strong read aloud text and the impact it can have on young readers. As a result, I found myself searching for new and exciting read aloud texts for my classroom to feed my students’ interest in reading. While my students were huge fans of each text, I too found myself entranced by the magic of picture books, and began researching the publication process in my spare time.”
Did you incorporate your book (pre-planning or currently) into your classroom?
“My students were included in all aspects of the drafting process from initial ideas to the completed transcript. Often, book check-ins would occur after our morning meeting where I would project updates on the process and welcome student input. This portion of the writing process was especially powerful for me as an educator because first grade writers often struggle with the revision stage of their work, often rushing over this stage in an effort to publish their work as soon as possible. I spent the first several months of 2021 revising and editing “The Super Guide to Becoming a Superhero” on nights and weekends prior to finalizing the text, which really highlighted the importance of the revision process for my first grade writers. My students were also especially interested in the illustrations of the text as the pictures are of the utmost importance as well.
Presently, I often reference The Super Guide to Becoming a Superhero to my current students, especially during our writing lessons, as I believe it helps to highlight the importance of each aspect of the writing process. In an effort to share my writing journey with as many young writers as possible I will also be hosting a “book talk” with all students in kindergarten, first, and second grade at Hopewell Elementary School on Monday, December 20. The entire Hopewell Elementary School community continues to be a huge support system and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
What was your relationship with reading in elementary school?
“Believe it or not, I was not an avid independent reader while in elementary school. However, I was a huge fan of picture book read-alouds. I can still recall our school librarian, Mrs. Kelly, reading to the class in the “reading nook” of our library and the way these texts made me feel. I hope to inspire children in a similar way through “The Super Guide to Becoming a Superhero.”
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