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Project Superhero - Written by E. Paul Zehr, Illustrated by Kris Pearn

Jessica is in Grade 8. And, it’s crazy. So, she’s started a diary to keep track of all the craziness. But she loves writing, and considers a career as an author or journalist someday…so she thinks writing a diary is definitely going to be fun. “It’s like thinking out loud, but in a quiet way.” 

In school this year, their assignment is to explore what it means to be a superhero (It’s also partly the reason Jesse’s started this diary.) And, part of the project is that they get to pick which superhero to be. At the end of the year there will be a Superhero Slam, where the ultimate super hero will be chosen.

The first part of the book is Jesse picking the superhero she wants to become. All she knows is that her superhero is going to be female for sure, because she also wants to beat her nemesis Dylan. After going through several options and conflicts in her mind on who to pick (yep, there aren’t as many female superheroes to pick!), she finally ends up picking Batgirl.

“Which brings up the question. There are lots of women on that team but they are still X-MEN – what is up with that? X-People sounds weird, I guess. Why not Team X or the X-treme Team. How come nobody ever asks me for ideas? No seriously. That’s a real question, diary!”

As she explores the real life of Batgirl, Jesse’s list of superhero skills and abilities includes some very specific training. She figures she needs to learn martial arts, running, jumping, gymnastics, and detective stuff. Batgirl also needs to rip around on a motorcycle, but she decides that she’ll leave this out of the list on the account that she doesn’t have a driver’s license, or a motorcycle, yet.

As Jesse gets her aunt to help with her physical training, she also learns a lot about nutrition and calories, determination and perseverance. (Yup, the author has done a fabulous job including references to real-life skills and habits that are essential for kids to possess. Kudos E. Paul Zehr!)

There are a lot of wonderful lessons to be learned from Project Superhero. And, the book’s content is covered so brilliantly; combining a fun read with in-depth research and analysis, as it delves into the various aspects of an eighth grader’s life. Kids ages 8-12 will love Project Superhero, as the get into the world of comic books heroes, science facts, and actual correspondence from real-life heroes like Olympian Clara Hughes, around the world sailor Jessica Watson, Captain Marvel writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Hayley Wickenheiser.

And because Clara Hughes has been in the media so much recently due to #BellLetsTalk day and her journey through Canada, this is such a wonderful book to get kids inspired. There is a real-time aspect about it that makes everything so current.

“Wow, Clara Hughes proves that a person can not just be good but great – an Olympic medalist – in more than one sport AND overcome difficulties. It is really cool that Clara was inspired by seeing someone else do something amazing, and now I’m inspired to do something myself because of Clara. Ms. King was right. Heroes, superheroes, and everyday people need (and can find) “inspiration for their perspiration.”
But, it still means you have to DO SOMETHING to get somewhere.”

I totally loved this book by E. Paul Zehr. The illustrations by Kris Pearn are spot on and just enhance to the enjoyment of this quest for the best superhero. Add to that, ECW Press has done a remarkable job in the layout of the book.

Buy the book at Amazon : Project Superhero 
Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a branding blog:, as well as a lifestyle blog: T: @SukasaStyle)