Few books in Read to Them’s library are able to balance wit, respect, forgiveness, and the power of familial bonds with the ease of Marion Jensen’s Almost Super. Jensen presents these themes in an action-packed world brimming with superheroes – some who possess incredible powers and some with gifts that are absolutely ridiculous. We recently had the opportunity to correspond with Jensen about his novel, his writing, and what it takes to be a hero.
If you’re reading Almost Super, be sure not to miss the opportunity to contact Marion Jensen for a personalized welcome message for your school!
What was your relationship with reading like growing up?
My parents had a library of old books down in our basement. I used to pick through the books, looking at the covers, and imagining the stories inside them. When I was old enough to read, I found that books were like a time machine. I could lose myself in the story while I rode on the bus or went on a long trip. I couldn’t believe that I could carry an exciting adventure around in my backpack.
What has been your most rewarding experience as an author?
I LOVE going to schools and talking to the readers, especially after they’ve read the book. There is nothing better than hearing a reader talk about the characters and ask about the writing process.
What was the inspiration for your novel, Almost Super?
At the time, I was telling my children stories each night to help them get to sleep. Their favorite stories were the ones where they were the characters, and they had superpowers. They asked me over and over again to tell them most adventures where they could do amazing things.
Simply having super powers doesn’t make you a superhero – so in what ways do you try to be a superhero in your everyday life?
That’s one of the main themes of Almost Super! When life doesn’t just give you what you want, then you must work for it. I’ve found the best way to do amazing things in your life is a little each day. Day after day, week after week, year after year. Doing a little at a time, over a long period of time, can make a huge difference.
Resilience is quite prevalent in Almost Super. In the past year, how have you managed to remain positive and look on the brighter side of things?
You can only do so much by yourself. When things get hard, there are always people in your life who are ready to help you. Whether it’s friends, family, a teacher, or somebody else, you can get through the hard times better when you go with a friend.
If kids could learn one lesson from the characters in Almost Super, what do you hope it would be?
The characters in Almost Super wanted to be superheroes. When things didn’t go exactly how they thought, they didn’t give up. They thought, planned, worked, and kept an open mind. Then, when they needed to be brave, they were. I hope readers can realize that if they work as hard as the characters in the story, they will do amazing things.
If you could have any super power, what would it be? Would you use this power for good or for evil? A little of both?
I love this question! I think if I had an amazing superpower, then people would look at what I accomplished, and say, “He can do amazing things because he has a superpower, so I can’t do those amazing things.” So, the power I would want is something worthless, so people would realize they can do amazing things too. My power would be the ability to grow a mustache, on-demand.
What is something you hope families get out of reading Almost Super with Read to Them?
There are some important themes in the book. Without giving too much away, I hope that readers and families will be reminded of how similar we all are, and how much more we can do when we work together.
Do you have any advice or tips for young writers?
Yes! Three pieces of advice. Read a lot. Write a lot. And the first draft is never perfect. Edit, edit, edit, and make it better every time.
Before we go, is there anything else you’d like families and educators to know?
If your school has chosen Almost Super for your One School, One Book program, I’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to record a personalized message for your students and teachers.
To keep up with the latest from Marion Jensen, you can find him on Twitter or visit his website. If you enjoyed Almost Super, be sure to pick up the sequel, Searching for Super, at a bookstore near you!