The phrase “Not all heroes wear capes,” coincides with the concept of the acclaimed Hero book series by award-winning author, educator, and sports journalist, Jerald LeVon Hoover.

“When people look at the books,” he tells SBC, “you’re not going to see one person with a cape on or a mask on or a uniform on—not unless it’s a basketball uniform. In other words, they’re going to be regular folk from the neighborhood and community that are doing stuff that makes them heroes: making right choices, governing themselves accordingly, making mistakes and redeeming themselves from them—or being redeemed because somebody helped them. So, when you talk about hero, you’re talking about people that’s just living life as best they can.”

The Hero series, which now celebrates 30 years in print, is no longer just a young adult series. A Basketball Hero is Born is its first picture book as well as prequel. Readers get to experience how the beloved character Bennett Wilson’s passion for basketball began. It also explores whether Bennett had a father around and how he and Kirby became friends.

“There’s so many elements now that I’m able to put into the children’s series that I was not able to in the big series,” the My Friend, My Hero novelist says.

Hoover has been honored for his literature since the early 90’s. He was among the top-selling authors in a host of Black publications and received the Best New Male Writer of the Year by the Literary Society in Virginia for My Friend, My Hero as well as the WritersCorp Award from Bill Clinton. To date, the Hero series continues to garner praise. He was seventeen when he began writing, and like many, was rejected numerously before becoming a published author.

Check out the interview to learn what led to Hoover adapting his books into picture book form, his thoughts on education, jobs, literacy, community, what drives him, why he thinks everyone should write, and much more! For more information, visit his official website.

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