What makes a hero super?

Created by Salvatore Rubbino

Would you like the power to fly, to take off from your chair anytime you wanted? WOW!

What about using your strength to support a wobbly bridge just before the passenger train arrives? YIKES!

Maybe you could use your powers to transform yourself into a tiger or a butterfly; Your skills may help you save rain forests or speak to ghosts. Whoopee!

Or perhaps you’d use your special abilities to make a friend smile or to climb a tree to rescue the cat? ZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DAH

Even if you don’t have your superhero powers yet, we are all capable of extraordinary things. Whether it’s an amazing act of kindness, unstoppable determination to complete a task or a mindboggling catch during the ball game. Characters in stories often face challenges and find extraordinary ways to overcome a difficult situation.

Illustrations for Tracy Beaker
Illustrations for Starring Tracy Beaker copyright © Nick Sharratt. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.

These are Nick Sharratt’s rough drawings for Tracy Beaker and show how the character comes to life in all her unstoppable glory. The author, Jacqueline Wilson, got the idea when she, ‘saw some photos of children in care homes looking desperate to be fostered’. She said, ‘I wanted to write about a fierce funny little girl who has to fight her own battles’. Tracy is tough and can be rough but is also extremely kind... sometimes!

Have you noticed Tracy’s super expressive hair? Can you imagine the wind blowing through her curls and would that make her grin grow larger than ever?

Manuscript material from Beverly Naidoo
Archive material for Journey to Jo’burg by Beverley Naidoo © Beverley Naidoo. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.

In the story Journey to Jo’burg, 13 year old Naledi and her brother walk 300 kilometres from Mafeking all the way to Johannesburg in a race against time to fetch help for their seriously ill baby sister. They have to walk because there is no money for a train. To help her think about the details in the story, the author Beverley Naidoo, wrote a list of the places between Mafeking and Johannesburg and then added up all the distances. In an early draft, Naidoo has scribbled over and rewritten her typed up copy until she finds the best way to tell things.

What’s the furthest you have ever walked? Were there times when you felt like giving up? What kept you going?

Nimesh swims through his classroom while wearing scuba-diving equipment. His imagination has turned his classroom into a colourful aquarium with fish, a shard and aquatic plants
Nimesh the Adventurer. Text © Ranjit Singh, 2018. Illustration © Mehrdokht Amini, 2018. Lantana Publishing, 2018 https://lantanapublishing.com/ You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.

Nimesh the Adventurer uses his imagination to turn the walk between school and home into a exciting journey – to a dragon’s cave, the ocean floor and a Maharajah’s palace.

If you had the power to go anywhere, where in the world would you travel?

A child is running while wearing a cardboard box decorated as space rocket, a cat in an orange jumper follows the child
Look up! by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola: digital artworks. Illustrations © Dapo Adeola 2019. Look Up! is co-created by Nathan Bryon and Dapa Adeola. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.

These are Dapo Adeola’s illustrations for Look Up! – a story about a science-mad little girl called Rocket. She knows that one day she is going to be the greatest astronaut and star-catcher that ever lived. Her hero is Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space.

What do you dream of becoming? Who inspires you to follow your dreams?

The front cover of Marvel on the left, on the right is the start of a Spider-man story
Images: © 1972 MARVEL. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.

Peter Parker is a school student when he is bitten by a radioactive spider. As a result he develops superhero strength and becomes Spider-Man, able to scale tall towers, shoot webs and swoop through New York City. Spider-Man’s motto is, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ and he uses his abilities to catch baddies and keep the
city safe.

If you were a superhero what special powers would you have? Would you choose to fly, crawl up walls, time travel or fire laser beams from your hands? Would you like to move objects with mind control, grow giant size or shrink as small as an ant or shape shift into any animal form? And could you be super resourceful to always manage a tricky situation?

What kind of superhero costume and accessories would you have? Would you wear a mask, a cape that would make you invisible, an iron suit to protect you, a gadget belt, rocket blaster boots, or a chameleon coat with a special pattern so that you could blend in anywhere?

Here are some superhero sound effects: Kazoom, Kerping, Blap, Zeek, Bish-Bash-Bosh, Biff-Bam-Pow, Swoosh and Whaam!

Can you come up with your own?

What you will need for the activities:

A4 plain paper
A4 assorted coloured paper
a drawing pencil
coloured pencils, crayons, marker pens
a pair of scissors
a glue stick

Activity 1: Make a flying superhero

Make a paper aeroplane

Fold a sheet of A4 paper (white or coloured) into an aeroplane. Then carefully cut 5cm off the tip.

The aeroplane will become the body of your superhero and the wings will be transformed into a cape. Draw on a belt and other details. Then draw and cut out legs (with rocket propelled boots!), arms, a head and perhaps some superhero sound effects. If you don’t have coloured paper, you can add colour with pens, pencils or crayons instead.

paper aeroplane with other cutoutr

3. Open the fold along the centre and glue the head into position here.

Place the head on your superhero

adding legs to the superhero

Open the fold along the centre and glue the head into position here.

adding arms to the superhero

And then the legs.

adding words to the superhero

The arms go here, stretching out in front or if you prefer tucked under the cape along the side of the body.

flying the superhero

If you’re using ‘sound effects’ glue them onto the cape next.

Your superhero is now ready to save the universe!

Activity 2: Changing into your costume

Draw a pair of feet at the bottom of your page (A4 paper) and perhaps those of a friend

drawing of feet with flap folded down

Fold the sheet over till it touches the tip of your drawing

Folded superhero activity

Imagine yourself in the picture, draw the rest of the body and colour in if you choose to.

Folded superhero revealed

Now imagine yourself and your friend in your superhero costumes ready to save the universe. You could give yourselves speech bubbles or include superhero sound effects!

Read more

David Almond's messy notes and doodles in a notebook for Skellig

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