I am knee deep in organizing and planning my summer reading program which is set to kick off in just TWO weeks! YIKES! The theme this year is “Every Hero Has a Story.” Yes, I am definitely using superheroes, but I also wanted to show the kids who they can be a hero in the world. What better way to do that than to talk about some real life kid heroes? So, I wanted to take a moment and share with you some of the research I am doing into these five outstanding kid heroes.
Ruby Bridges: Civil Rights Activist
Ruby was the first African American student to go to an all-white public school. She faced a lot of hateful words and actions every day, but she never complained. She just wanted a fair education and to get to know other kids her age, regardless of their race. Ruby’s historic steps helped unify public schools and the idea that a community is made up of many different people and families. Her story is memorialized in several children’s books including: The Story of Ruby Bridges and Through My Eyes.
John Darragh: Revolutionary War Spy
John was a young boy when his family sided with the rebel colonists during the Revolutionary War. Since their family lived across the street from the British army—their enemies—the Darragh family agreed to spy on the British. It was John who secretly took messages to his brother in the rebel camp. John risked his life to save our country every time he stepped outside of his house. He is the subject of Buttons for General Washington by Peter Roop and The Top-Secret Adventure of John Darragh, Revolutionary War Spy.
Jackie Mitchell: Professional Baseball Pitcher
One of first female pitchers in professional baseball history, Jackie started her professional career at just 17 years old and faced the mighty Babe Ruth who she struck out! She also struck out Lou Gehrig. She continued playing ball for another 5 years before retiring at the young age of 23. She is the subject of several books including Mighty Jackie: The Strike Out Queen and Pitcher vs. Babe Ruth.
Bronco Charlie: Pony Express Rider
Bronco Charlie (aka Charlie Miller) was the youngest rider for the Pony Express mail service. The journey for the riders was a hazardous one…fraught with harsh weather and dangerous encounters among other things! But Charlie faced his job with more bravery than most adults show! His story is remembered in the book Bronco Charlie and the Pony Express and also in The Rough-Riding Adventure of Bronco Charlie, Pony Express Rider.
Abbie Burgess: Lighthouse Keeper
Abbie was only 17 when she was called upon to face a terrible storm and keep it running on her own so that it could guide ships to safety. Normally she helped her father, but he had to leave and for an entire month she had to keep the lighthouse on her own. Her story of bravery is chronicled in the books Abbie Against the Storm, The Stormy Adventures of Abbie Burgess, Lighthouse Keeper and Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie.
I’m going to take all of this information and make a presentation not only for our kick-off party, but also to take to schools with me this summer as a promotional tool for the library!