Across 2022, the Year of Stories, we are spotlighting Publishing Scotland members, who will share their own story in their own words. Get to know Super Power Books, whose work aims to improve the lives and literacy skills of some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people.
What’s your story?
Super Power Books is the publishing arm of the Super Power Agency, a charity (SC046550) that aims to improve the lives and literacy skills of some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people. Through a range creative writing workshops, cross curricular programming, and mentoring, we work with young people aged 8-18 in schools and community organisations to give pupils the powers they need to close the attainment gap in education, foster aspiration, and become successful learners, confident individuals, and responsible citizens.
Since starting our work in 2016, we have worked with more than 3,000 young people to create 20 publications filled with youth writing. From poetry, to essays, to children’s books, fiction and nonfiction, Super Power Books has become one of the largest publishers of youth writing in the country. Our writing workshops currently run in 17 primary and secondary schools in Scotland (13 in Edinburgh, two in Peebles, one in Dunfermline, one in Tullibody) with plans to expand our reach into more areas of Scotland.
Tell us about some of your key stories.
Our first book, the Leither’s Guide to Leith, was created working with S4, S5 and S6 pupils at Leith Academy. We asked the pupils to write about Leith and the places they thought people should know about. The book, now in its third printing, is popular among visitors to Edinburgh and locals. It is also part of the permanent collection at the National Library of Scotland.
Our book Through the Years: Connecting Present to Past was the first in our series of pen pals workshops that the Super Power Agency has now become famous for. This first book was created from correspondence between S2 pupils at Broughton High School in Edinburgh and members of two elder care facilities – LifeCare and Haugh House/Mansfield Care. The pen pals wrote back and forth for a few weeks and then had the opportunity to meet each other in person. You can learn more about the project and their big meeting here:
What draws you to a story? What makes a good story?
We publish everything the young people we work with write. We have seen first-hand the confidence and self-esteem that young people experience from having their work published in a book. It becomes a testament to their hard work and dedication. The themes for the books are created in discussion with teachers and the young writers. The themes run from stories about identity, to plays about life, to stories about superheroes. Giving the young people control of their stories and what they will write ensures that each story is unique, individual and in their own voice.
What stories should we look forward to or check out this year?
We are excited to have quite a few books by our high school authors coming up in the next few months. We have books from young people at some of our long-time high school partners (Leith Academy, Broughton High School) and some from our newest partners, Tynecastle High School and Dunfermline High School)
- Partners in Write: Very Important Pen Pals written by S2 pupils at Broughton High School, Edinburgh
- So, You Want to Write a Book? Sure! written by S1 pupils at Broughton High School
- Our Stories written by S4 pupils at Tynecastle High School, Edinburgh
- What If? Revisionist History written by S1, S2 and S3 pupils at Leith Academy, Edinburgh
- The Biggest Fan a children’s book written by S1 boys at Broughton High School
- Only C-Wing Gets It: The Forced Thoughts of Dunfermline High School’s Fourth Years written by S4 pupils at Dunfermline High School, Dunfermline
Currently in production are books being written by P6 and P7 pupils at Halyrude Primary School in Peebles, St Bernadette’s RC Primary School in Tullibody, and Leith, Lorne, Craigentinny, and Hermitage Park Primaries in Edinburgh.