Superhero stories for children – an introduction
Superhero stories and superheroes in children’s books – here’s our super list of super picture books, short chapter books and topic books featuring superhero characters and themes for EYFS, KS1 and KS2. With a mix of heroes and heroines superhero adventures, Bring out your inner caped-crusader with these classic tales of villainy and injustice being defeated by courage and the most awesome of superpowers.
This list includes picture books, short chapter book fiction and middle-grade novels packed with boom, pow, bam, kapow, a healthy serving of whoosh, crash, wham, splat, zap and zonk and plenty of truth, justice, power and responsibility.
Exploring superheroes in books can be a great way to inspire children’s writing and discuss issues of confidence, positive relationships, belief in one’s abilities, ambitions, self-image, how we can help other people, the importance of teamwork and cooperation, and putting faith in good trumping evil.
Writers and illustrators featured include Julia Donaldson, Dav Pilkey, Neal Zetter, Phil Earle, Mini Grey, Cynthia Leonor Garza, Sue Hendra and more.
Superhero stories for EYFS, KS1 and KS2 – our recommended titles
Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza
When a group of boys tells Lucia that girls can’t be superheroes, she has other ideas, and with the help of her grandmother, she finds out she’s descended from a long line of real superheroes – the Luchadoras! With strong female characters, this vibrant picture book for 3-7-year-olds introduces children to the rich history and culture of Mexican lucha libre.
Zippo the Super Hippo by Kes Gray
Zippo is a Hippo who believes he can overcome any challenge in his quest to find his superpower. Determined to fly, in failure, he discovers a superpower no one would have expected. It’s a hysterically funny and empowering read that will help children to see all the different things they can be good at.
My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons
When Luke’s brother is given amazing superpowers by a passing alien, Luke is very disappointed. After all, it’s Luke who’s mad about comic heroes, not his brother Zack. But when Zack disappears, Luke has to find him and battle an evil arch-nemesis! This extremely funny comic page-turner will appeal to and give confidence to less extrovert children aged 9-12.
The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
When George and Harold decide to create their own comics, they come up with the ultimate super-secret superhero to fight battles, be funny and design pranks. A binge-worthy and unputdownable graphic novel series of superhero stories that will appeal to 9-11-year-old children of all reading abilities. Now in full colour with ‘fliporama’.
Daddies and Baddies by Mat Waugh
It’s five heroic children, five amazing dads vs some superbad robbers in this madly funny comic romp with fun on every page. The highly illustrated anarchy will appeal to 4-7-year-olds and the rhyming storyline and innumerable quirky visual details to spot make this a great book to share.
Superheroes Don’t Get Scared… Or Do They? by Kate Thompson and Clare Elsom
What happens when the biggest, fastest, strongest most amazing superheroes get scared? It couldn’t happen, could it? The rhyming text, larger than life characters and bold colourful illustrations help to bring this book alive. A great story to help explore fears and worries with younger children.
Juniper Jupiter: A Real-life Superhero by Lizzy Stewart
Juniper Jupiter has amazing superpowers – super strength, super intelligence and super bravery, but all she wants is a friend. So she sets out to find the perfect super sidekick. Exploring the values of trust, friendship and appreciating the people around us, this is a useful book to discuss in EYFS circle time and KS1 PSHCE.
Superworm by Julia Donaldson
When a slithering lizard corners Superworm, who will wriggle to the rescue of the snails, slugs, toads and beetles? Facing certain peril, Superworm need not fear – for his friends are determined to help him. A classic and uplifting rhyming picture book to read aloud and discuss loyalty and friendships with 4-7-year-olds.
Here Come the Superheroes: Raps and Rhymes to Save the Galaxy by Neal Zetter and Chris White
Featuring Captain Polystyrene, Sister Speed, Terrific Tot and arch-nemesis Teen Terrible, this is an engaging full-colour collection of super poems to read aloud. It’s filled to the brim with cracking rhyming raps that will captivate an entire class, year group, or even school. Highly recommended for KS2 literacy and KS1 superhero topics.
Stardust by Jeanne Willis
In the shadow of her older sister, a little girl wishes she was the star of the family. But one night, while looking up at the cosmos, her grandfather shows her that we are all stars. A charming, moving and memorable picture book that will give younger children a new perspective on what we are, and what we can grow up to be.
Astro Girl by Ken Wilson-Max
Astrid is determined to realise her dream of being an astronaut. Packed with positivity, this engaging and beautifully illustrated story with diverse characters will encourage children have the confidence to overcome obstacles and challenges in life.
Traction Man Is Here by Mini Grey
This modern classic follows Traction Man, a toy to save the world, with an outfit for every occasion. But when a granny knits him a new suit, in green, how can he show his face and still be a hero? With rich language to inspire creative writing, this is a clever and positive comic book story for 5-7-year-olds that challenges stereotypical ideas of how a hero should look and act.
Superhero Hotel by Abie Longstaff
After days and weeks of superhard superheroing, the Superhero Hotel is the perfect place to relax. However, superheroes with too much time on their hands turn out to be a recipe for disaster in this brightly illustrated picture book for 3-5-year-olds with a diverse ensemble of memorable characters.
Superbat by Matt Carr
Pat is a bat with superior seamstress skills who decides to become a becaped superhero in this boldly illustrated picture book for preschoolers. Determined to stand out and be more than those around him, it takes a group of mice to point out how incredible he really is. A bedtime story to read again and again.
The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man by Michael Chabon
Awesome Man has every awesome superpower imaginable, and a few more. He beams positronic rays from his eyes and is seemingly afraid of nothing, But he also hides a secret and one which pre-school children will be determined to find out! A great story with a clever twist that’s great to read to and discuss with 5-7-year-olds.
SuperDad’s Day Off by Phil Earle
Stanley’s dad is his hero and always spends Fridays with him. But one Friday, he can’t. So, Stanley needs to step in and help his dad as an extra superhero to aid all sorts of interesting people in need. This brilliant rollercoaster of a fun short chapter book will appeal to less confident readers aged 4-9 and dyslexic readers in KS2.
Super Snail by Elys Dolan
If Kevin is to join the League of Heroes he needs to prove himself – something that’s difficult when he’s a slug. But everything’s possible with the power of slime! With bright illustrations, visual cues and lots of comic strip dialogue, this is a great book to read and share with infants.
Dylan the Villain by KG Campbell
Dylan is determined to be the worst possible villain and make his evil parents, Mr and Mrs Snivels, proud. But when he enters a school contest to build a diabolical robot, things don’t go entirely as planned. With clever humour and bombastic characters, this is a great picture book story for superhero topic teaching to help EYFS children understand the concepts of competition, ambition and how to behave fairly.
Max by Bob Graham
There’s a lot to live up to when mum and dad are both celebrated superheroes. But Max can’t seem to be like them. That’s until a baby bird is in mortal danger and Max does something incredible. A heartwarming story that will help instil confidence and inspire a can-do attitude in younger children.
Supertato by Sue Hendra
When a naughty pea gets away, Supertato is on hand to try and catch it. But has he met his match? A laugh-out-loud picture book to read with toddlers through to infants, Supertato is a modern classic that deserves a place in every classroom and childhood bookshelf.
Resources for using superhero stories in teaching
- BBC Bitesize has a useful set of superhero resources to support teaching a superheroes topic in KS1.
- The Hay Festival has produced a great pack of free resources based on David Solomons books, designed for KS2 classes, but also usable with more advanced Year 2 groups.
- Westwood Primary School in Leeds has some great ideas on their website for using superhero stories as part of a cross-curricular topic involving Literacy, PE and STEM
- Mentally Healthy Schools has created an excellent set of free EYFS, KS1 and KS2 resources to support positive self-image and wellbeing, suitable for superhero topics, class teaching, as well as transition.
- Puffin Schools offers a fun online video lesson for KS2 by Ali-A, explaining how to create a superhero – including developing a name, designing a costume, inventing a superpower and creating a narrative problem to resolve. It’s ideal for Year 3 upwards.
- The Philosophy Foundation has developed a clever resource pack for EYFS called ‘Superheroes and pants’, which teaches children to think about whether a person’s appearance or character is more important.
- Lawford Mead Primary School has some excellent artwork ideas for KS1 displays on the theme of superheroes on their school website.
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If you liked this list of superhero stories, you might also enjoy Shark Super Powers by Jillian Morris & Duncan Brake, Gangster School: Gruffles and the Killer Sheep by Kate Wiseman, our list of 20 pirate books for children, our list of graphic novels for KS2 children, our All About Me topic books, and our list of recommended Year 1 books.