@ Your Library 3.13.18

Young Heroes


@ Your Library

By Beverly Ewart


Merriam Webster defines heroism this way:  “Heroic conduct especially as exhibited in fulfilling a high purpose or attaining a noble end.”  

In Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, she quotes her father discussing her when she was an infant: “I know there is something different about this child.”  In a culture where only boy babies were to be celebrated, Malala’s father insisted that his family and friends bestow blessings upon his baby daughter as she lay in her cradle.  The symbolic gifts of fruit and money they placed in her crib at his behest were not usual for a baby girl. Malala’s heroism in her defiance of the Taliban’s prohibition on education for women followed the trajectory of her father’s belief that his daughter was destined for a high purpose.  She became what she already knew she was.

I have recently come under the spell of the Broadway musical Hamilton, an artistic interpretation of the Alexander Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow.  Little did I know how young Alexander Hamilton was when he started being given leadership responsibilities in the Revolutionary War; he’s always been a “Founding Father” to me!  (Check out Slate.com for an article on the ages of the Founding Fathers.) Alexander Hamilton was just 18 years old when he performed one of his most heroic feats of combat during the war, and 20 years old when he became a senior aide to General George Washington!

Deborah Sampson was 18 in 1782. Disguising herself as a man to take on the British army, Deborah joined the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment as Robert Shurtleff, and became another hero of the Revolutionary War.    A contemporary of the Founding Fathers, she was at least as brave as they - if not more so, as she had to completely duck the patriarchal floodlights of the status quo to embark on a military career as a woman.

Teens and young people are often castigated or derided for some of their foolish escapades, but heroes are salted in among the demographic!  Heroes stand when everybody else takes cover. This March, let’s celebrate the fact that not every young person is eating Tide Pods; some of them are rising up to turn the tide on entrenched adult inaction and apathy. Historically, they stand in good company; let’s stand with them.  

Check out these books about young heroes:

  • Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda.  The complete libretto of the Broadway musical, with a true account of its creation, and concise remarks on hip-hop, the power of stories, and the new America.  Includes libretto and photographs from the musical, as well as an account of the creation of the musical, from the composition of the first song of the show in 2009 to the opening night in 2015.

  • Revolutionary by Alex Myers.  Presents a fictionalized account of Deborah Sampson Gannett, who defied the rigid societal and social norms of her times to disguise herself as a man, join the Continental Army, and fight against the British during the American Revolution. (You will need to check out this one via interlibrary loan.)

  • I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Tailiban by Malala Yousafzai.  When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday October 9, 2012, she almost paid the ultimate price.

  • The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip M. Hoose.  "At the outset of World War II, Denmark did not resist German occupation. Deeply ashamed of his nation's leaders, fifteen-year-old Knud Pedersen resolved with his brother and a handful of schoolmates to take action against the Nazis if the adults would not. Naming their secret club after the fiery British leader, the young patriots in the Churchill Club committed countless acts of sabotage, infuriating the Germans, who eventually had the boys tracked down and arrested. But their efforts were not in vain: the boys' exploits and eventual imprisonment helped spark a full-blown Danish resistance. Interweaving his own narrative with the recollections of Knud himself, here is Phil Hoose's inspiring story of these young war heroes"-- provided by publisher.

  • Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World by Susan Hood.  "Fresh, accessible, and inspiring, Shaking Things Up introduces fourteen revolutionary young women--each paired with a noteworthy female artist--to the next generation of activists, trail-blazers, and rabble-rousers. From the award-winning author of Ada's Violin, Susan Hood, this is a poetic and visual celebration of persistent women throughout history. In this book, you will find Mary Anning, who was just thirteen when she unearthed a prehistoric fossil. You'll meet Ruby Bridges, the brave six-year-old who helped end segregation in the South. And Maya Lin, who at twenty-one won a competition to create a war memorial, and then had to appear before Congress to defend her right to create. And those are just a few of the young women included in this book. Readers will also hear about Molly Williams, Annette Kellerman, Nellie Bly, Pura Belprè, Frida Kahlo, Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne, Frances Moore Lappè, Mae Jemison, Angela Zhang, and Malala Yousafzai--all whose stories will enthrall and inspire. This book was written, illustrated, edited, and designed by women and includes an author's note, a timeline, and additional resources. With artwork by notable artists including Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall, Lisa Brown, Hadley Hooper, Emily Winfield Martin, Oge Mora, Julie Morstad, Sara Palacios, LeUyen Pham, Erin Robinson, Isabel Roxas, Shadra Strickland, and Melissa Sweet."-- Amazon.  

Library Programs:

Baby Storytime happens on Tuesdays from 10-10:45am. Children ages 0-18 months and their caregivers are invited to experience books and participate in bounce rhymes, songs, finger plays, and social/play time. There is no registration necessary for this program.

Toddler Story Time (18-35 months) meets Monday mornings 10:30am-11am and runs in 4-week sessions. Registration is required, so please be sure to contact Valerie White at 315 386-3712 ext. 4.  There are still openings in the Toddler Story Time sessions in March, April, and May, for which children ages 18-35 months may be registered.

Preschool Storytime meets Wednesday mornings from 10:30-11:15 am. This popular program features books, flannel board stories, songs, finger plays, movement, and crafts. Preschool Storytime is designed for 3-5 year olds and their caregivers. No registration is needed.

The Junior Writers’ Group at the Canton Free Library meets from 3:30-4:50 pm the second and last Thursday of every month. This creative and lively group is for children ages 8-12 who like to have fun with words. Children should bring paper and a writing instrument. Questions? Contact Linda Batt 344-6592 or linda.batt06@gmail.com

Teen Programs:

Teens! Anime Club continues to gather on Fridays 5:00-7:00 pm to enjoy some sweet, sweet anime!

Casuals Wielding Dice meets each Wednesday from 3pm-5pm at Canton Free Library. Join Game Master David Crowell for imaginative adventures involving critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and creativity!  

Clash of the Readers will be getting a new schedule this year. Our annual reading challenge, which has taken place in March during Teen Tech Week, will now take place during Teen Read Week in October 2018. Stay tuned for more information!

Hours: Canton Free Library is open Monday 9:30am - 8pm, Tuesday 9:30am - 5pm, Wednesday 9:30am - 8pm, Thursday 9:30am -5pm, Friday 9:30am -5pm, and Saturdays from 10am -3pm. Please note that the book drop remains open 24/7 for returns. Rensselaer Falls Branch Library is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3pm -6pm. Morley Branch Library is open Tuesday and Thursday 1pm -6pm. 

For more CFL news, “like” the library page on Facebook.  Find new additions to our collection on our website: cantonfreelibrary.org. To renew your current checkouts, login to  ncls.org; you may also renew via email at canlib@ncls.org, or by calling (315) 386-3712.

Meet some heroes @ your library!