Hero: A Book Review of Dare to Dream! 25 Extraordinary Lives

Hero Book by Sandra McLeod Humphrey
Book Review by Laura Pickford Ramirez

In today's fast-paced, media-driven world, we have plenty of celebrities, but few heroes. While celebrities are famous (in many cases, for questionable behavior), heroes are esteemed for character, courage and achievement. In other words, a celebrity does not a hero make.

As parents, how do we teach our children to see the difference? How do we teach them that the actress who gets attention for taking off her clothes or the athlete who gets media coverage for punching a fan are celebrities, not heroes?

Sandra McLeod Humphrey's latest book, "Dare to Dream! 25 Extraordinary Lives" provides a solution to our dilemma. Humphrey, a retired psychologist and author of the series of "What Do You Do?" books (which foster moral development in children), has done it again with her latest book. "Dare to Dream!" reveals the struggles of real-life heroes and how tough choices led to development of character, moral fiber and social change. Reading about how these people led their lives will give your children role models after which to pattern their behavior.

"Dare to Dream!" has something for every child. Sandra McLeod Humphrey has carefully selected heroes from every ethnicity and walk of life, from sports to science, from music to poetry. Humphrey chronicles hero development during each person's life, from child to adult, so kids can begin to see how choices shape a life. Included in the book are current heroines (like Maya Angelou) and historic heroes (like Abe Lincoln). Although the characterizations are information-rich, they are brief—most are no more than two or three pages—which makes the book a great summer read.

Buy "Dare to Dream!" and use it conjunction with my reading ticket program reading ticket program to keep your children reading throughout the summer. (In my house, my children earn a ticket for every 15 minutes of reading. The tickets may be collected and exchanged for privileges such as sleepovers, movies, a trip to the water park, etc. Download my predesigned reading tickets by clicking on the link above.) While reading the engaging stories from "Dare to Dream!" your children will be sharpening their literary skills and learning how to rise above time, place and circumstance to become heroes of their own lives.

(Sandra McLeod Humphrey was recently selected by the Church and Synagogue Library Association to receive the "Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature.")

hero - characteristics of a hero

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