From award-winning author Gary D. Schmidt, a warm and witty novel in the tradition of The Wednesday Wars, in which a seventh grader has to figure out how to fulfill an assignment to perform the Twelve Labors of Hercules in real life—and makes discoveries about friendship, community, and himself along the way.
Herc Beal knows who he's named after—a mythical hero—but he's no superhero. He's the smallest kid in his class. So when his homeroom teacher at his new middle school gives him the assignment of duplicating the mythical Hercules's amazing feats in real life, he's skeptical. After all, there are no Nemean Lions on Cape Cod—and not a single Hydra in sight.
Missing his parents terribly and wishing his older brother wasn't working all the time, Herc figures out how to take his first steps along the road that the great Hercules himself once walked. Soon, new friends, human and animal, are helping him. And though his mythical role model performed his twelve labors by himself, Herc begins to see that he may not have to go it alone.
Gary D. Schmidt is the bestselling author of The Labors of Hercules Beal; Just Like That; National Book Award finalist Okay for Now; Pay Attention, Carter Jones; Orbiting Jupiter; the Newbery Honor and Printz Honor Book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy; and the Newbery Honor Book The Wednesday Wars. He is also contributor to and co-editor of the acclaimed short story collection A Little Bit Super, co-edited by Leah Henderson. He lives in rural Michigan.
"Sharp and funny . . . this essential purchase will spark interest in classical mythology and encourage readers to reach out to others in times of stress." — School Library Journal (starred review)
"Schmidt employs his signature narrative style, balancing scenes of humor and affecting gravity through Hercules’s droll narration. A moving hero’s journey." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"This memorable novel offers emotional honesty, wit, and a hard-won, heartening perspective." — Booklist (starred review)
“In his wry and sometimes gripping story of working through grief, Schmidt gives us glorious sunrises seen from the dunes — where Hercules greets each day with a hello to his parents — and a year in the life of a nursery.” — New York Times Book Review
"At once an epic journey toward self-discovery and a wonderfully entertaining yarn." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Schmidt’s narrative keeps readers engaged with action [and] humor." — Horn Book Magazine