Kids have always had heroes; for some it’s a sports figure, for others it’s someone in their favorite movie. But in a time when heroes are desperately needed (okay we still have Derek Jeter, but forget the NFL), parents must often look to the past for those who they want their children to admire. In a world that is obsessed with Kim Kardashian’s latest escapade or which NFL player will be the next to be outed for his abusive tendencies, Brad Meltzer has written a series of children’s books that demonstrate ordinary people can become extraordinary heroes.
Meltzer is perhaps best known for his television series “Decoded” in which he and a team of investigators uncover some of the countries most-enduring myths and legends. Past episodes have looked at the influence of the Masons on the development of the United States and the infamous Bohemian Grove in northern California. He is also the bestselling New York Times author of political thrillers for adults. Now he has penned picture books for children – along with illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos – that introduce young readers to the likes of Albert Einstein and Rosa Parks.
While the Ordinary People Change the World book series is technically a set of biographies and they do provide some of the important facts of each subject’s life, they are meant to show that each person had certain characteristics that enabled them to go beyond the ordinary life they were born into. Determination, perseverance, hard work are just a few traits these heroes had that made them into the people others look up to today. Currently, there are four titles available in this series written for children ages 5 and up. A fifth title is set to be released in January 2015.
“I am Abraham Lincoln” (Dial, January 2014)
“I am Amelia Earhart” (Dial, January 2014)
“I am Rosa Parks” (Dial, June 2014)
“I am Albert Einstein” (Dial, September 2014)
“I am Jackie Robinson” (Dial, January 2015)
Meltzer is also the author of two other books for children which focus on heroes. One is written specifically for daughters, while the other is written specifically for sons. Of course, everyone needs heroes of both genders so these books would be appropriate for any family library.
“Heroes for My Daughter” (Harper, April 2012) This book includes the stories of 55 women from all walks of life and from different eras. Marie Curie, Billie Jean King and a plethora of other powerful individuals will help parents introduce their daughters to people who didn’t give up, who changed the world and who can truly be classified as heroes.
“Heroes for My Son” (Harper, May 2010) In this collection of heroic individuals which include such legends as Mr. Rogers and Gandhi, Meltzer looks at 52 people who young boys can look up to, learn from and in whose footsteps they can follow.