Erica is a writer, editor, wife, and mom. She has always found employment with an English degree and she excels at nurturing children and animals but struggles to keep houseplants alive. Erica currently writes at

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Book Review: Heroes for My Son

Since I have two young sons, I’ve admittedly become obsessed with books geared toward raising boys, molding boys into men of honor and generally giving me parenting tools to keep in my back pocket.

Brad Meltzer’s Heroes for My Son does not disappoint, although I’ll have to save it for when my boys are closer to fifth or sixth grade.  The actual concept of the book isn’t anything terribly new–a list of historical figures for kids to emulate–but Meltzer manages to drill down to the essence of each figure.  This is something that requires a little maturity for kids to grasp.

For example, Steven Spielberg isn’t highlighted for his enormous producer status, but for being a visionary.  He established the Shoah Foundation “to ensure that the atrocities committed during the Holocaust could never be denied” and videotaped “nearly fifty-two thousand…testimonies from Holocaust survivors and other witnesses.

Clara Hale is someone most people haven’t heard of, but she ran Hale House in Harlem, NY.  She began by raising foster children and went on to raise infants suffering from drug withdrawals and HIV/AIDS.  When she died at age eighty-seven, “Clara had helped raise almost one thousand children of every race and ethnicity.”

Each person’s story is only a one-page snippet of a full life, pared down to deliver a small lesson in love; endurance; belief; strength; courage; leadership; hope.

It’s a little tough to digest as a cover-to-cover read, but would be perfect to read together, one story per night.  Or, if you have a teen who’s past reading books together, you could leave this near the privy and let it serve as “quiet time” reading.  Each snapshot easily creates enough curiosity to drive your kid to Google more information.

It’s awesome and scary to think of the endless possibilities for our boys; our girls.  How they could one day be a Hero.  We try every day to exude our feelings as parents, but maybe they’ll not know our love until they’re parents themselves.  As Meltzer’s mom said at the birth of her first grandchild, “Now you’ll understand how I love you.”

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  2. Rachael 05/18/2010 at 10:56 am

    Great review! I'm going to have to pick this up!