Actor and comedian Sir Lenny Henry has written a children's book. The Boy With Wings was published by MacMillan Children's Books on the 14th October 2021. The book has a personal meaning as he wanted to create characters that young children could identify with as this was something he found difficult as a child. As an avid young reader, he often wanted to go on a fantasy journey with a character that looked and felt like him. It’s sad to think that the young Lenny Henry, and of course many other children, have not found this in the characters they’ve been reading. This must have impacted on their engagement with and opportunities to fully immerse in stories because of this. Therefore, we need to make sure that current literature for children doesn't continue to exclude and preclude children but to ensure that there they have a rich diversity to ensure stories are a brilliant place for every reader.
In this rocket-fuelled adventure, I believe he has nailed every aspect he has set out to do. It starts out with an ordinary kid, Tunde, who is surrounded by characters that most readers will be able to relate to. The book covers subjects of loneliness, friendship and bullying whilst wrapping the plot up with intelligent and fitting humour. This is something that only a great comedian can pull off and he does so with style. The story is imaginative and involves everyday family and school life but it also ventures into a warp-speed fantasy mission about saving the world from a devastating alien war.
The book is spectacular in that it has a great message, a quirky plotline and lots of stuff that both kids and adults will relate to as the story works on so many levels. There are different interpretations of the narrative through the marvellous black and white illustrations by Keenon Ferrell. There is also an added bonus of a small illustrative comic book included at the back of the book which enhances the creative experience. This has been produced by the wonderful comic creator, Mark Buckingham.
The book is emotional and thought-provoking. It’s a booster breeze with a winged superhero who runs faster than Usain Bolt, jumps higher than Michael Jordan and scores better goals than Marcus Rashford. It’s a fast-paced adventure with video game-like qualities that will have you immersed with all the baked treats of a Masterchef getting the ingredients wrong. Watch out for the magpies as they have very sharp beaks and the flying feline cats. What more can you want from a read?
This book is a feast for the senses and one of the best books of the year. Innit? A modern marvel for all the family. Grab a copy and read it today!