Sometimes the theme for the children’s summer reading program resonates with me as something for adults as well. This year’s theme — Every Hero Has a Story — is a perfect match for adults. I’ve grown up with heroes — my grandparents who worked in India, my uncle serving in Korea, the Lone Ranger, Nancy Drew, Superman, JFK — and I’ve learned that many heroes have flaws just like we do.
Many heroes are those who haven’t had their story told. It is especially sad when I read an obituary of someone I vaguely knew and discover how much of a hero he or she was.
This summer we are sponsoring a Wall of Heroes by asking people to fill out a paper “brick” with the name and a brief description of a hero. The hero can be a famous person, a person you want to honor who is your hero, or a literary hero. It can even be an animal who is heroic. We will use the “bricks” to make a wall on foam board to display in the downstairs gallery.
On our book displays we will feature books and movies about different types of heroes: Heroes that take action, Animal Heroes, Heroes that fight injustice, Heroes that persevere, Heroes with flaws and more. We have bookmarks suggesting books you might like to read about different heroes.
I’ve given a lot of thought to the bricks I plan to make. My local person is Sister Ann Keefe who recently died in RI. She worked tirelessly and effectively to help fight homelessness, hunger and poverty in my state. My literary hero is Jean Pagett from A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute. Jean shows resilience, practicality and a wonderful way of compromising so that everyone wins and she survived walking back and forth Burma during WWII. My famous person is Louis Zamperini from Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. There are many survivor stories, but what makes Louis different is that he was able to forgive the Japanese for what they did to him and his fellow prisoners. That to me is a real super power! I am still figuring out my favorite hero with flaws — there are so many of them.
I hope you will take part in sharing your heroes with us this summer.