Troublemakers and Superpowers: 29 Stories of People Who Turned Childhood Struggles into Strengths (Paperback)

Troublemakers and Superpowers: 29 Stories of People Who Turned Childhood Struggles into Strengths By Keely Grand, Ragon Dickard (Illustrator), Marisela Van Sickle (Foreword by), Marisela Van Sickle (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Keely Grand, Ragon Dickard (Illustrator), Marisela Van Sickle (Foreword by), Marisela Van Sickle (Afterword by)
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This unique and hopeful biography collection explores the lives of 29 individuals from diverse backgrounds who turned their childhood struggles – their personal “troublemakers” – into strengths that enabled them to live their lives to the fullest.

Troublemakers and Superpowers is filled with hopeful stories that explore the lives of individuals from diverse backgrounds who have had to navigate a “troublemaker” in their childhood, such as trauma, depression, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, or dyslexia. Each of these individuals had a turning point in their life that enabled them to understand not only their struggles but also their strengths and ultimately learn how to use them to go after their dreams.

Did you know…

  • Greta Thunberg used the strengths she discovered with her Asperger’s Syndrome to start a climate revolution.
  • Jonathan Van Ness’s (JVN) struggle with childhood trauma and depression pushed him to learn self-love.
  • Ed Sheeran overcame a stutter with the help of music. 
  • Emma Stone struggles with anxiety and discovered acting helps her manage her condition.
  • Trevor Noah grew up in South Africa navigating the strict rules of apartheid, the inflexible traditions of catholic school, and being a kid with undiagnosed ADHD. Discovering stand-up enabled him to turn his fascinating life story into comedy. 
  • Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock struggled with dyslexia then discovered the benefits of her condition – good 3D spatial awareness – were ideal for a career as a space scientist.   

Each profile includes a full-page illustrated portrait and three pages devoted to the subject’s inspiring story, which is interwoven with vibrant, playful art and illustrated quotes that highlight significant moments in each subject's story.  

The book also includes: 

  • A foreword for kids and an afterword for adults written by a licensed therapist to provide mental health context for readers.
  • Definitions of the variety of conditions, disorders, and traumas covered in the book, vetted by mental health experts.
  • A list of resources on topics covered in the book.  

The incredible stories of the individuals in this book are filled with hope and inspiration for kids, ages 8 and up, who are struggling with challenges in their lives, as well as for kids who love biographies. All readers will have a better understanding of what it's like to grow up with "troublemakers" and how they can be seen as "superpowers."

About the Author

KEELY GRAND is a mom, author, personal trainer, and wellness specialist. Her interest in people, specifically their health, gifts, and challenges, was sparked by years of trying to find ways to connect with her younger cousin who lived with severe cerebral palsy. She earned a Master’s degree in Health Communication from Emerson College and has worked as a community health educator, a cross country and track coach, and freelance writer. Diagnosed in adulthood with anxiety and ADHD, she manages her own troublemakers through exercise, speaking with a therapist, and practicing yoga.

RAGON DICKARD is a Seattle-based illustrator who loves to make art with monsters, animals, people, and fruits and vegetables. She’s inspired by folk art, printmaking, animation, and kitschy things she finds at Goodwill.  You can find out more about her on her website:

Praise For…

"Troublemakers and Superpowers is a refreshing and positive exploration of the way that disability, trauma, and adversity can shape identity in positive ways."
Children's Book Review

"Perfect as a read aloud and as a basis for a classroom or home discussion. Highly recommended!"
—Greg Pattridge, Always in the Middle

Product Details
ISBN: 9781632173003
ISBN-10: 163217300X
Publisher: Little Bigfoot
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2023
Pages: 128
Language: English