Today is Hero Day at Inly which is both really fun and quite enlightening. All of the students between kindergarden and 8th grade made boxes that creatively represent a person they consider to be a hero. During the event, I took my notebook and went out to see if there were any authors among the boxes paying tribute to former presidents and Steve Jobs. I’m not taking anything away from leaders of the free world or the founder of Apple, but it was wonderful to see a few authors – and one literary character – honored by a box.
Not surprisingly, J.K. Rowling was the author who dominated this category. Lots of boxes featuring pictures of broomsticks and witch hats. But these are the other writers our students recognized:
Beverly Cleary – What a terrific choice…think of how many smiles Beverly Cleary has been responsible for over the years!
J.R.R. Tolkien – selected by a 7th grade girl who is, of course, a lover of fantasy novels
Maya Angelou – not surprisingly, it was a teacher who chose Angelou and she made the coolest “caged bird” to represent the poet’s work. By the way, here’s a fun fact about Angelou’s most well-known book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The title of her book was inspired by a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar called Sympathy. Dunbar was an African American poet who lived between 1872 and 1906. He was born in Dayton, Ohio – and went to high school with Wilbur and Orville Wright. There’s your interesting Dayton trivia for the day!
Dr. Seuss– this box was done by an 8th grade student who wrote a beautiful essay about Dr. Seuss which included this sentence: “Children have ‘owned’ his books both figuratively and literally for years.” Nice, huh? And so true…
Laurie Halse Anderson – Anderson was selected by an 8th grade student who feels that Anderson has put words to so many feelings that are part of being a teenager
Stephen King – Honestly, I don’t know. I admire the original selection here, but I am frightened way too easily to read Stephen King’s novels.
Rachel Carson – her words started a movement. A true hero.
And the one fictional character? Atticus Finch, of course!
My own hero was not someone who wrote a book, but a person who found a book. Miep Gies not only risked her own life to protect Anne Frank and the others in the Dutch annex during WWII, but she was the person who discovered Anne’s diary. Without Miep Gies we would not have access to Anne’s thoughts and doubts and her belief that “in spite of everything, people are truly good at heart.”