BOOK REVIEW | Finding the hero in all of us

Street artist Michael Glenda, himself a father of 3, illustrated the book.

By Danielle Galvin

Reuben Cullen certainly goes against the grain when it comes to children’s authors.

He’s probably an unlikely character to write for young children, being a tradie and openly talking about his former battles with addiction, but that’s part of the magic of his story, and his new book, A Hero Born.

It’s a self-published book he wrote to help him believe in himself again.

“One day I just had an idea of writing a story, and being your own hero.

“And I thought it was best targeted to kids given that they are really into superheroes.

“Being your own hero is probably pretty important and it was what I was struggling with at the time, a bit of self-belief.”

The book follows the story of a caped hero and an everyday hero, with the message, anyone can save the day.

It also talks about the values Reuben was seeking in his own life: to be ambitious, healthy, reliable, selfless, caring, honest, confident, determined and happy.

His book is a message of self-love and awareness, simply, he wants children to be their own heroes.

“I have had some people say to me (after writing A Hero Born) you have always had a way with words.

“I didn’t really use poetry as a way to express myself until my early 20s and probably my mid-teens, more so when I had my battles with drug addiction I used it as a way to express myself.”

Coming up with the story came naturally to him, once he’d established the message and the characters.

The book is also dedicated to Kasey, the daughter of a woman he was in a long-term relationship with.

It’s a deeply personal book, in that sense.

“The message is that definitely no one is too old to know they can be their own hero.

“I wrote it with the intentions of wanting to believe in myself and like myself again.

“Kasey was a big reason I wanted to write the book.

“I wanted to one day have something to show her and hopefully read to her. I just hope kids can learn to be the best person for themselves from reading the book – if I can just help one child not go through what I did then I’ll be happy.”

And while the book is suited for children of any age, he said the message starts to ring true between that 4-9 age bracket.

“When I’m writing, I’m not afraid to express myself and say how I am feeling.

“Giving people the power to be self-aware is good, to learn to know yourself is really important I believe.”

There’s a mirror in the book at the end, with a powerful thought to end on.

“I remember (Kasey) used to love looking at herself in the mirror.

“It’s got a mirror on the last page, so the last page reads ‘when I look in the mirror what I want to see the best version of myself, so my hero is really me’.”

To find out more and order the book, visit https://reubencullenkids.com/