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Children's Fiction Science & Technology

Project Superhero

by (author) E. Paul Zehr

illustrated by Kris Pearn

ECW Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2014
Science & Technology
Recommended Age
Recommended Grade
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price

Classroom Resources

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Join 13-year-old Jessie as she keeps a diary of her class’s yearlong research project on superheroes, which culminates in the Superhero Slam: a head-to-head debate battle! It’s shy, comics-obsessed Jessie’s dream come true . . . and worst nightmare. She decides to champion Batgirl, a regular person (albeit with major talent and training under her utility belt), and soon Jessie wonders what it would take to be Batgirl. Will she prove to her best friends, Cade and Audrey, that she’s more than a sidekick? Can she take down archenemy Dylan at the Slam?

Combining science facts, lively illustrations, and comic-book trivia with actual correspondence from superhumans such as NYPD Sergeant Mike Bruen, Olympian Clara Hughes, and Captain Marvel writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, Project Superhero is a celebration of the heroes among us and of one girl’s super-secret identity: herself.

About the authors

E. Paul Zehr is a professor of neuroscience and kinesiology at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and the author of Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero, also published by Johns Hopkins. For more information about finding your inner superhero, visit

E. Paul Zehr's profile page

Kris Pearn's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Readers should readily respond to Jessie's mission of self-improvement." — Kirkus Reviews

“Jessi is an engaging protagonist, and learning more about girls and women in comics is a welcome contribution to the genre.” — School Library Journal

“Pearn’s commercial comics illustration style, with wide-eyed characters and plenty of motion, is perfectly suited to the subject matter, which . . . will appeal to hardcore superhero fans normally leery of any reading material that isn’t segmented into panels.” — Quill & Quire

We need positive influences for girls. Super proud to be a part of Project Superhero, providing exactly this.” — Olympian Clara Hughes

"In Project Superhero, E. Paul Zehr and Kris Pearn combine science facts, lively illustrations, and comic-book trivia to tell the story of a young girl who discovers her own super talents." — 49th Shelf, Most Anticipated Fall 2014 Kids' Books

”It contains a ‘feel good’ message that reinforces the reality that superheroes are for everyone." —

"The interviews are compelling . . . the science is appealing . . . and the multiple approaches give this multiple audiences. Comic book fans, science geeks, history buffs, and fans of realistic fiction may all find a piece of this to enjoy, and Jessie's cheerful narration is enjoyable throughout." — The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Project Superhero is a faux diary fiction/non-fiction hybrid about comic book superheroes, but without any comics . . . Intrigued? You should be . . . The illustrations throughout are wonderful and full of life and fun." — Canadian Children's Book News

"An enjoyable journey where Jessie must confront her own fears and insecurities while discovering what makes regular people heroes . . . Lively and detailed black and white illustrations by Kris Pearn are abundantly woven throughout, greatly complementing the action." — Winnipeg Public Library

"While it’s sad that there are so few resources to celebrate science (and superheroes!) for this specific audience, Project Superhero a great story and an even better girl character as the protagonist, making Project Superhero worth the wait. It’s so good, I went out and bought a copy for every young girl on my Christmas list this year. And my son will be reading it too." — GeekDad

"A fiction/non-fiction hybrid extension of those themes targeted at tweens, particularly girls. . . . Project Superhero is all of this wrapped in a package of a lot of comic book history with a dash of science, history, and language lessons. It’s also delightfully illustrated." — GeekMom

Other titles by Kris Pearn