Tag Archives: heroes

Heroes, artists and a little girl

The Hiding Game by Gwen Strauss, illustration by Herb Leonhard

The main heroes are two men: Varian Fry (sometimes called the American Schindler) and Danny Bénédite (the author’s great uncle). They are working to help refugees escaping from the Nazis.

The artists are some famous people you would study if you took a class on modern art: Max Ernst, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp.

The little girl is Aube, hiding with her father the poet and her mother the painter.

Younger readers can follow along from Aube’s point of view to see life in the safe house (a mixture of art games and spycraft, hunger and danger).

As she is escaping to safety, Aube remembers “how the artist Marcel Duchamp once visited the Villa with a small suitcase. When he opened it, there was a collection of all his favorite artworks, like a miniature museum.” You can see a box like this at the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago.

In Chicago, you can also see art created by Chagall including the outdoor mosaic The Four Seasons and his America Windows at the Art Institute.




Need another hero?


Do you have a kid who loves Wonder Woman? Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of Wonder Woman comics for kids (they tend to be written for teens and adults). There’s somewhat more available in picture books and chapter books, and she makes it into a couple of ensemble comics. If you’re looking for movies and TV shows starring heroic girls and women, here are a few suggestions:

Barbie in Princess Power

Batgirl, Year One

DC Super Hero Girls

Jacket (1)
Ladybug & Cat Noir

Legend of Korra

Jacket (2)
PowerPuff Girls

Jacket (3)

Jacket (4)
Stan Lee Presents Mosaic

Jacket (5)

Misty Copeland makes another milestone

It’s been a big year for ballerina Misty Copeland, as you can see in the news stories below:



When discussing the news, NPR replayed an interview with Ms. Copeland, which you can listen to here:


Among other things, the interview discussed the ballerina’s picture book, Firebird.

Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers (winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for 2015).

Here are a few more books that feature Black ballerinas:

Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman, pictures by Caroline Birch
Grace loves playing pretend, but she’s not sure whether to try out for the role of Peter Pan because her classmates tell her, “You can’t be Peter– that’s a boy’s name” and “He isn’t black.”  Her grandmother encourages her by taking her to see a performance of Romeo and Juliet featuring a ballerina from Trinidad.

Ballerina Dreams
Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Dancer by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince ; illustrated by Frank Morrison.
“At the age of three, Michaela DePrince found a photo of a ballerina that changed her life. She was living in an orphanage in Sierra Leone at the time, but was soon adopted by a family and brought to America. Michaela never forgot the photo of the dancer she once saw, and quickly decided to make her dream of becoming a ballerina come true.”–Amazon.com.

Beautiful Ballerina
Beautiful Ballerina by Marilyn Nelson, photographs by Susan Kuklin
Poetic language is paired with photos of students at the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

A Dance Like Starlight
A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream by Kristy Dempsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
A young girl growing up in Harlem in the 1950s, whose mother cleans and stitches costumes for a ballet company, dreams of becoming a prima ballerina one day, and is thrilled to see a performance of Janet Collins, the first “colored” prima ballerina.  This title is one of the nominees for the Monarch award in 2016.

Dancing in the Wings
Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen, pictures by Kadir Nelson
Sassy dances in the wings until she tries out for a summer dance festival and gets to dance on stage.