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Every Hero Has a Story

July 14, 2015

"There are two kinds of heroes. Heroes who shine in the face of great adversity, who perform an amazing feat in a difficult situation. And heroes who live among us, who do their work unceremoniously, unnoticed by many of us, but who make a difference in the lives of others." - Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Don't be surprised if you spot Batman, Ironman or Wolverine hanging out in your neighborhood or driving by during your daily commute. It's not some oddball confused about when Halloween is. He is mostly likely on his way to a public library.

By the time this article is in print, libraries all over the Ohio Valley will be in the middle of their summer reading programs. Many libraries around the country utilize the Collaborative Summer Library Program, which provides resources and programming ideas tied to a theme, as well as promotional materials. The 2015 theme for children is a "Every Hero Has a Story." So, you may just spot a super hero or two this summer. If you are a library user, the chances are good that you will.

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What makes a real hero? Heroes are people who make a brave choice in a difficult situation, take a risk and beat the odds, or stand up for what is right when no one else will. Some heroes become famous and change the world for those who come after them. Some heroes change the world for just one person. The message in these recommended picture books is that we can find heroes and acts of courage all around us.

"Hero Dad" by Melinda Hardin

Some heroes have X-ray vision, drive really fast cars and can fly. But other heroes wear camouflage, drive tanks and have to go far away to make the world a safer place.

In this book, a young boy compares his Army Dad to a super hero.

This is a great book for children who have a loved one who is away serving our country.

It also can be used to initiate a conversation with children about military families and help them develop an appreciation for all who have serve or have served our country.


"Police Officers on Patrol" by Kersten Hamilton

Sometimes people need help, and this book focuses on heroes who can be found in every community: police officers. Cheerful and positive, this rhyming story follows Sergeant Santole as he dispatches his officers around town.

Broken traffic lights, lost children and bank robberies are all tended to by the traffic, mounted and crime patrols. Their motto: "Situation under control. When people need help, we rock and roll!"


"Rosa" by Nikki Giovanni

Rosa is a beautiful rendering of Rosa Parks' courageous choice in picture book format. The radiant watercolors in this book earned illustrator Bryan Collier a Caldecott Honor Medal in 2006.

Most people are familiar with Mrs. Parks and her refusal to move to the back of the bus.

It helped spark a revolution and was a crucial event in the battle for civil rights.

However, Giovanni gives the reader interesting background information about her life before that fateful day in Selma, Ala.

Before reading this book, I was unaware that Rosa was married to a barber, cared for her elderly mother and worked as a seamstress.

The integrity, dignity and quiet strength of Rosa Parks is truly evident in this story about a true American hero.

Misty Teasdale is the children's services coordinator for the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County. She lives in West Wheeling with her husband and daughter.



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