We Run Tomorrow by Nat Amoore with art by Mike Barry and published by Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House Australia is brimming with adventure and suspense as well as a (mostly) likeable cast of diverse characters. These are the types of characters you can’t help but cheer on; celebrate their wins with a fist pump and feel heart ache for their losses. This fast paced book tells the story of four fiercely loyal friends who are determined to stay together despite what life throws at them. This book is recommended for upper primary students, ages 9-11, Years 4-6.

Jed, Maki, Tommy and Sticks are eleven years old, they are the very best of friends who live on Lockett Street, and together they are the formidable Lockett Squad, locked together. Life on Lockett Street is not always easy, Jed’s over protective parents are on a mission to convince him he is capable of anything. He has already proven this to himself and never allows his prosthetic arm to hold him back. Jed’s parents have committed him to a suite of after school activities and want to send him to Jamison Grammar school, a move Jed does not support. Maki has travelled the world as his father has a job where they are required to move every two years. Maki has finally found his tribe and does not want to move again. Tommy lives with his devoted and charismatic grandmother, Bim, who has an infectious smile always at the ready, however life with an aging grandmother means life as Tommy knows it takes a dramatic and tragic turn. Sticks lives in fear of being home alone with Bryce (the older brother) who is in trouble with the law and a vicious and violent thug. Sticks’ parents are consumed with court appearances and dealing with Bryce.  

Jed, Maki, Tommy and Sticks are completely enamoured with a comic, The Screen Savers and revel spending their time together at Lockett HQ acting out scenes from their favourite comic to upload to their popular YouTube channel. Each of them take on the character of one of their heroes – Jed is HiSpeed (superpower: can download any skill at lightning speed), Maki is SkyDrop (superpower: he can teleport at warp speed), Tommy is Wiki (he has the superpower of intelligence) and Sticks is Filter (superpower: a shapeshifter, capable of taking on any form at any time).

This story is told through the eyes and heart of Sticks. When one of the squad faces the inevitable reality that they will be leaving Lockett Street, the Lockett Squad unite and hatch a plan to see this does not eventuate. With reckless abandon, a big dose of courage, some precision planning and a feeling of invincibility they plan to take their future into their own hands.

This daring and bold plan involves crossing borders and travelling to the Gold Coast to achieve their ultimate dream. This is no easy feat and requires a whole lot of ingenuity, creative problem solving, some wheeling and dealing, talking themselves into and out of situations, finding themselves in all sorts of predicaments, dealing with dilemmas plus some pinch yourself moments. What’s an adventure without some colourful characters thrown in too? Could it be possible that four eleven year olds, with limited funds and supplies evade authorities and actually realise their dream? Will their actions achieve the desired outcome to stay together? Will consequences apply which see them live out a vastly different reality to the one they envision?

This book contains seven graphic novel segments that are peppered throughout the story. These graphic novel segments are presented as excerpts from various issues of the Screen Savers comics. They relate to the Lockett Squad’s experiences and battles and enrich the storyline.

This story keeps you captivated and has twists and surprises designed to challenge reader’s assumptions. The indomitable spirit the Locket Squad possesses is admirable as is the compassion and empathy they feel for each other. The themes of friendship, resilience, family, heroes and superheroes will appeal to readers as will Nat Amoore’s relatable and on point social and age specific turns of phrase. There are also some heavy themes and heart-rending situations woven into the story in an age accessible way, including grief, loss and abuse by a sibling. Ultimately, this is a story of hope, true friendship, possibility and wild adventure.  

Nat Amoore is the podcast host of One More Page and author of Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire, The Power of Positive Pranking and The Right Way to Rock. Mike Barry is the creator of Action Tank, a humorous sci-fi graphic novel series.

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