Heroes for My Daughter by Brad Meltzer
What an ideal post for today … bestselling political thriller author Brad Meltzer (who also happens to write Superman, Batman, and Buffy comics on the side!) celebrates his own fatherhood with his second Heroes title, this time for his daughter. His Heroes for My Son, dedicated to his older son Jonas, took eight years of collecting 52 heroic stories and debuted in 2010. Last month, his 6-year-old daughter Lila got her turn with 60 heroes chosen over six years to inspire and lead her. Meltzer has a younger son Theo … surely, that little guy will be angling for his very own heroes soon enough!
Meltzer begins Lila’s book with a love letter that will make her cry tears of joy every time she reads it … albeit, when she’s a bit older. For a few more years, Daddy’s probably more about fun and cuddles and (self-admittedly) an embarrassment for being such a “mushy dad.” Of course, older readers are weeping through our knowing smiles and nodding heads, because “mushy” is not something we parents outgrow.
On the night of Lila’s birth, Meltzer started this book with the intention of filling it with “all the advice you needed to be a good person.” That “book of rules” morphed into this “book of heroes. And in that, I’d give you absolute proof that anything is possible.” Of the mostly women (and a few men) who Meltzer claims in his daughter’s name, “[e]very hero in here is a fighter,” he explains. “When you believe in something, fight for it. And when you see injustice, fight harder than you’ve ever fought before.” He distills each heroic life into an encouraging two pages, which makes them ideal to share as a bedtime tale with your own sweet daughters (and sons).
You’ll find some expected names here, including “Brilliant” scientist Marie Curie, “Unstoppable” Helen Keller, “Daredevil” Amelia Earhart (who took off on the first trans-Atlantic flight by a woman on this day in 1928), “Agitator” Sojourner Truth, and “Rebel” Rosa Parks.
You’ll laugh and sigh and be awed by the unexpected, including “Visionary” Joan Ganz Cooney who helped create Sesame Street, “Comedian” Carol Burnett whose famous ear tug was a secret greeting to her grandmother who raised her, “Pot Stirrer” Julia Child who began her career as a secret spy, “Role Model” Lisa Simpson who is a middle child as is Lila, “Subversives” The Three Stooges, “Killer” Agatha Christie, and “Inspiration” Randy Pausch.
You’ll find plenty of surprises (and you’ll have to read the book to find out more), especially “Champions” Mallory Holtzman and Liz Wallace, “Dreamer” Alex Scott, and “Scientist” Elizabeth Blackburn.”
But perhaps the most resonating heroes just might be “Rule Breaker” Sheila Spicer who was Meltzer’s ninth-grade teacher (her photo – with Meltzer – is priceless!), “Irrepressible” Dotty Rubin who was Lila’s great-grandmother, “Designer” Teri Meltzer who was Meltzer’s mother, and “Fighter” Cori Flam Meltzer” who is “the most important hero in here. Your Mom.”
In our media-crazed, disconnected world in which too many of our heroes can fail us, Meltzer reminds us that our everyday champions are right within arm’s reach. Go spend your day giving and taking hugs … what better nourishment for living our own heroic lives.
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Adult