The book marks a ten-year association between Great Ormond Street Hospital School and The National Portrait Gallery, which every year looks to engage pupils from the school with pieces from the gallery’s collection.
My Super Heroes, is a wonderful conceit, which allows famous figures to step out of the frames of the National Portrait Gallery and into the lives of children who have limited access to the outside world.
Many of the portrait sitters within the book, including Sir Francis Drake, Michael Faraday, Emmeline Pankhurst, and Mary Seacole, are presented as a sort of Top Trump.
Pankhurst: Strengths, ‘Brave hardworker.’ Seacole: Strengths, ‘Not scared of danger. Could make her own medicines.’
Rather then ask you to chose who’s more heroic though, each portrait leads to an exercise on the opposite page, all drawn up in Deuchar’s free-hand illustration style.
The aim is that children are encouraged to imagine their own superheroes through drawing and creative writing.
It seems to be working according to one workshop participant who says, ‘I was feeling down today. I feel better now I’m drawing.’
My Super Heroes is also being used in schooling workshops at Evelina Children’s Hospital School and Vital Arts, Royal London Children’s Hospital.