Why I created a girl superhero

September 2, 2016

The world needs more girl superheroes and so I set out to write one. How does one create a superhero for a seven-to-12 year-old reader?

As an ex-teacher I knew a lot about schools and kids. I wanted my superhero to be a schoolgirl too who deals with real issues. I was once a schoolgirl myself … weren’t we all? I thought back to my old school days and what girls did then and how relevant is it to the present generation.

How my childhood differs from today’s young girls

As the second daughter of four girls in a blue collar working class family in Liverpool NSW, I was the independent child.  I did pretty much what I wanted as long as the household chores were complete.

With no computers, iPhone or internet, I literally lived outside and spent my time exploring neighbourhoods and visiting friends. I studied hard at school and had success, particularly in science.

I also loved the original black and white TV superhero series, Superman. For half-an-hour a week, I was transformed into a wannabe superhero.  Most of my friends watched the show, and related to Lois Lane, Superman’s girlfriend. Not me, I wanted to be Superman.

What girls today devour

Even though times change, across the spectrum we find all kinds of girls –tomboys, active, quiet, sporty, adventurous, studious, lazy and imaginative.

My potential target audience devours a diet of special-effect movies from Marvel or DC comics, and kids are still reading whatever fantasy, sci-fi or hero book they could get their hands on.

They want to escape day-to-day issues like school and homework, and take flight into magical worlds where superheroes thrive and villains are vanquished.

In comes Song Bird

Karen Tyrrell holding Song Bird med resKnowing girls want female heroes as much as boys want theirs, I created a new girl superhero—a positive role model—and so began my journey of Song Bird Superhero.

Song Bird has to meet challenges. She is strong but not invulnerable; brave but not fearless, and she is forever in awe of her powers.

On her path of learning her super capabilities, Song Bird’s alter ego, Rosella Ava Bird, shows a keen interest in science and flight, and utilises her school taught STEM learnings (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) to guide her.

She builds flying machines, inspired by her hero Leonardo Da Vinci, and demonstrates resilience when she endures multiple failed attempts to fly.

Rosella also encounters bullying from a boy next door. He makes her life difficult, and she learns anti-bullying strategies to improve her position, from victim to winner. Rosella’s best friend Amy is a disabled girl whose friendship and intellect helps Rosella transform into Song Bird.

The turning point in the story is when Rosella learns to combine her love of singing and control her voice allowing her to reach her primary goal and dream, to fly like a bird.

My superhero message to young girls

Song Bird delivers a clear message– girls can do anything if they try.


Take part in the launches and meet Karen:
Song Bird Superhero launches at Logan North Library 10 September at 10am. To book, tel: 3412 4140.

Book signings at Dymocks:
Garden City 24 September 10.30-1.30pm
Carindale 25 September 10.30-12.30pm
Indooroopilly 8 October 10am-12noon
Brookside, Angus & Robertson 22 October 10.30am-1pm.

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Karen Tyrrell

I am a Brisbane award-winning resilience author of six empowering books for kids and grown-ups. As a bullied school teacher who endured a crippling breakdown, I learnt the hard way the importance of personal wellness on my long journey to recovery. These experiences developed my passion to write books empowering and helping others with resilience, teamwork, anti-bullying, creativity and coping skills.


I present bully prevention talks, creative writing workshops, pantomimes and costumed author talks at schools, libraries and festivals.