Dr Ranj and pupils from Claremont Primary School at Moss Side Powerhouse.
All 4-year-olds in Manchester are being given a helping hand this September to find their ‘superpowers’ in a bid to give the city’s youngsters a leg up and help make a positive difference to their lives.
As part of the council’s Making Manchester Fairer (MMF) action plan to address inequalities and improve long-term outcomes for people living in the city, every 4-year-old is being given a copy of the children’s book ‘A Superpower like mine’ by award-winning TV medic and author Dr Ranj.
Informed by conversations with residents, businesses, and community groups, as well as organisations from the voluntary sector and other public sector partners, MMF provides a five-year blueprint to help Manchester tackle the health and wealth inequalities that exist across the city.
Improving the life chances of children and young people in Manchester – where 43 per cent of families still live in poverty – is a key part of the MMF action plan.
The city council is on a mission as part of this to further improve literacy levels across the city and has for the last seven years done much to promote reading with youngsters through its Read Manchester scheme in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.
This has seen more than 280,000 books given away to children and their families since the start of the pandemic, including 32,000 copies of the same book given to all Year 6 children when they leave their primary school as part of a unique to Manchester transition read, which aims to help promote a love of reading and to give youngsters something in common with their peers as they head off to their new high schools.
This year for the first time the hugely popular transition read scheme has been extended to all children who started in Reception classes in September with each child being gifted a copy of the same book – ‘A Superpower like mine’ by Dr Ranj.
Nearly 7000 copies of Dr Ranj’s inspirational book are now being put in the hands of 4-year-olds across the city.
A Superpower Like Mine by Dr Ranj.
The hope is that not only will the engaging and colourful book excite children and help get them in the reading habit, but that its wider message of finding your superpower and being who you want to be will fire children’s imaginations and put them on a journey of self-discovery and strength.
Councillor Joanna Midgley, Deputy Leader Manchester City Council, and Co-Chair of the Making Manchester Fairer Board said: “Poverty, health inequalities and the ongoing cost of living crisis are all issues that cut to the heart of our communities, and unchecked create profound and lasting damage that can take years to reverse.
“Through Manchester Making it Fairer we’re determined to do everything we possibly can right now to make sure everyone in Manchester gets the same life chances as people elsewhere – and that includes our children and young people.
“Self-belief and good mental health are fundamental to this and are both vital building blocks to better outcomes in life.
“And that’s where Dr Ranj’s book comes in – helping Manchester’s children feel good about themselves from the inside out, showing them that what they have inside is what makes them special and that these qualities are their very own superpowers.
“It’s a brilliant message for 4-year-olds just starting school to hear and one we hope they carry with them throughout their school days and well into adulthood.”
Reception class pupils at Claremont Primary School went to Moss Side Powerhouse and heard first-hand from Dr Ranj this week when he read his book to them as part of a special event jointly organised by Manchester Making it Fairer, One Education and Read Manchester to help the youngsters explore their own superpowers.
Dr Ranj reading to a pupil.
Dr Ranj said: “One of my fondest childhood memories is being taken to the local library every week by my mum. We were encouraged to immerse ourselves in books and the joy of reading and learning. This is something that every child should experience, not as a privilege but an everyday part of life. That’s why I’m so proud and grateful that children in Manchester will have a chance to feel a bit of that joy – and I hope it inspires them to read more!”