Like Lava In My Veins (Hardcover)

Like Lava In My Veins By Derrick Barnes, Shawn Martinbrough (Illustrator) Cover Image
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A USA Today Bestseller

All it takes is a loving teacher to help a boy get control of his sizzling superpowers, in this vibrant picture book by bestselling author Derrick Barnes.

Bobby Beacon’s got fire flowing through his veins. And now he’s psyched to attend a new school that’ll help him get a better grip on his powers. But right off the bat, his new teacher is not too welcoming. That causes Bobby’s hot temper to land him in the principal’s office. It ain’t easy to stay calm when people don’t seem to understand you and are always pushing you to the edge. Good thing Bobby gets moved to a class with an understanding teacher who clues him in on ways to calm himself and shows him that caring for others is its own kind of superpower. With her help—and some cool new friends—he just might be on his way to becoming the best version of himself possible.

About the Author

Derrick Barnes ( is the author of the empowering New York Times bestsellers The King of Kindergarten and I Am Every Good Thing, which won the NCTE Charlotte Huck Award and the Kirkus Prize, and Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, which received a Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King Honor, the Kirkus Prize, and the Ezra Jack Keats Award. He also wrote the bestselling chapter book series Ruby and the Booker Boys. Derrick is a native of Kansas City, MO, and a graduate of Jackson State University, and was the first African American male creative copywriter hired by greeting card giant, Hallmark Cards. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife and their four sons.

Shawn Martinbrough ( is the author of How to Draw Noir Comics: The Art and Technique of Visual Storytelling, published by Penguin Random House, and an Eisner award nominated artist whose comic book projects include Batman: Detective Comics, Luke Cage Noir, The Black Panther: Man Without Fear, Hellboy and Thief of Thieves, and the graphic novel series co-created with Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, INVINCIBLE). Shawn is a Vanity Fair contributor and the writer of Batman, Red Hood & The Hill for DC Comics, which introduces multiple new characters to the Batman Universe, and a co-author of the new children's book series Judge Kim and The Kids' Court, published by Simon & Schuster.

Praise For…

“The best comic you’ve ever read about a firestarter, his amazing teacher, the school-to-prison pipeline, and fighting the power!” —N. K. Jemisin, five-time Hugo Award-winning, bestselling author of The Broken Earth trilogy and the Eisner Award-nominated graphic novel miniseries Far Sector

"Believing in yourself is important, but having a teacher or an adult who believes in us can make all the difference. Writer Derrick Barnes, artist Shawn Martinbrough and colorist Adriano Lucas have created a fun, gorgeous inspiring book that is going to changes lives." —Bill Sienkiewicz, Emmy-nominated, Eisner Award-winning artist

“Author Derrick Barnes is at the top of his game! Like Lava In My Veins is on fire!” —Jerry Craft, author of the Newbery Award winning New Kid
“Derrick Barnes pours into the power of teachers when they help young people find their super-power . . . My daughter—our children—will love it.” Dr. Ibram X. Kendi 
“In his latest literary masterpiece, Derrick Barnes once again captures and ignites our minds and hearts through his storytelling . . . Children will read this book feeling seen, loved and majestic!” —Dr. Gholdy Muhammad PhD 

"Barnes’ storytelling is unmatched . . . Every classroom in America needs this book." —Dr. Bettina L. Love, PhD 

“With this lively and clever picture book, award-winning author Barnes tells an engaging story while skillfully conveying the idea that young people can flourish with guidance from empathetic educators. In particular, the narrative speaks to the experiences of Black students, who are disproportionately disciplined for misbehavior far more often than their White counterparts. Comic-book elements such as speech bubbles and panels work perfectly with the text; Martinbrough and Lucas’ dramatic art oozes action. . . . A thrilling story with a sound takeaway: Compassionate teachers are the real superheroes.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This picture book has the visual style of a classic comic book, with dramatic shifts in perspective, dynamic onomatopoeia, and tightly controlled action sequences. . . . The superhero context lends it plenty of timely appeal, and its emphasis on adult support and acceptance is a strong reminder that problematic behavior can often be funneled into strengths with the right focus. . . . Bobby’s strong narration carries readers through his battle with Headmaster Chaos from the Institute, with a cliffhanger ending that assures readers there’s more action to come.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Graphic novel and picture book merge in this red-hot superhero story. . . . Thin-lined hand-drawn artwork with bold shadow effects conveys the dynamism of old-school comic books in this story that underscores teachers’ import while portraying one child’s experience within an educational system that falls short in supporting its Black students.” —Publishers Weekly

“Barnes, Martinborough, and Lucas' smart and engaging book uses the metaphor of superpowers to explore commonly misunderstood behavior in children and emphasize the importance of guiding them with compassion and understanding instead of punishment. Martinborough and Lucas' superhero-comics style is perfectly matched to the subject matter. Wonderfully elevating and empowering the voices and needs of Black children in particular, this book's message of the importance of genuine nurture and support will ring true for just about any kid.” Booklist, starred review

Product Details
ISBN: 9780525518747
ISBN-10: 0525518746
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication Date: July 4th, 2023
Pages: 40
Language: English