Off to school with Superheroes

Going back to school is sometimes tough enough to require a little assistance. Like Spiderman showing his superhero face on your light-up sneakers.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles guarding the contents of your backpack. The Disney fairies adding a touch of magic to your water bottle. They’re the haracters who decorate the all-important back-to-school accessories — gear that holds homework, lunches and the occasional plastic action figure. What’s the best new thing you can get for school? “A cool backpack,” said Danesha Drayton-Murphy, 8, of Columbus, a third-grader at Fox Elementary School. Hers is decorated with Bratz.

Superhero style

Back-to-school shopping can sometimes be a harsh reminder of summer’s end. Just ask 8-year-old Emily Hendricks of Columbus, a third-grader at Eagle Ridge Academy.

“I like shopping better for things that are not for school,” she said.

Thankfully, to lessen the blow, she has a Hannah Montana backpack, as well as other accessories like a Disney fairies water bottle.

Her brothers, 4-year-old Ian and 6-year-old Sean — a pre-kindergartner and first-grader, respectively, at Eagle Ridge — opt for a different route.

Their back-to-school gear spans a collection of animated action stars, everyone from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Kung Fu Panda to Spiderman and Batman.

And the Hendricks brothers aren’t the only ones on a mission to save the world. Five-year-old Latrell Drayton-Washington, a kindergartner at Fox Elementary, has a backpack featuring comic superhero the Hulk.

It’s an accessory he chose because of the Hulk’s signature “smash” move.

Backpacks themselves are now fit for owners of superhero caliber, as they include a variety of gadgets. It’s not just about straps and zippers anymore. Roller gear remains popular. Emily’s backpack is actually a shoulder bag that she says doesn’t hurt her back as much as the traditional kind. And Latrell’s Hulk backpack is equipped with a matching wallet. To an observer, it seems like everything an enterprising kindergartner needs. What’s missing? “I need some money in there,” Latrell said, eyeing the wallet.

Serious shoppers

Eight-year-old Sydney Sailors of Columbus, a third-grader at Britt David Magnet Academy, can easily identify one of her favorite items for the upcoming school year. It’s a dress she picked out while back-to-school shopping with her mom, and her rationale for liking it encompasses the all-important kid criteria for coolness. “It’s cute,” she said. Sydney and her 5-year-old brother Dylan — a kindergartner at Britt David — have backpacks displaying their favorite pop culture heroes. Sydney wears Disney characters like Tinkerbell on her back, while Dylan is guarded by Spiderman’s powers. But Sydney keeps a keen eye on fashion as well, filling her back-to-school collection with various shades of pink and red. And sometimes, certain hues are all it takes to make you cool. Dieondre Murphy, 10, a fifth-grader at Fox Elementary, names a pair of new shoes as his favorite back-to-school item. Why does he like them? “Because they’re white,” he said. Similarly, Dontavious Drayton-Hepburn, a seventh-grader at Double Churches Middle School, said he focused on his favorite colors while choosing school gear. Maybe that’s all it took for the 12-year-old to get so excited about hitting the books that he filled up his backpack on a summer day. “I’m ready. I’ve been ready,” he said.