As parents, we want our children to be brave and noble and to “do the right thing”. We guide them and prod them and hope our nagging results in their upstanding behavior. If you are anything like me, then you probably bombard your children with anecdotes and examples of upstanding behavior in the hopes that something will sink in. However, the older my boys get, the less impact my stories seem to have. Fortunately the written word is alive and well, and stories and books of bravery, heroism and valor abound.
The book shelves in our house are filled with many of the same books that the folks at JM Cremp’s have recognized as inspiring. Tales of heroism, grace under pressure, and doing the right thing are abundant; and we are blessed to be able to live in an age where they are readily available to us. Here are some of my favorites:
A Young Patriot – The American Revolution as Experienced by One Boy by Jim Murphy – In the summer of 1776, Joseph Plumb Martin was a fifteen-year-old Connecticut farm boy who considered himself “as warm a patriot as the best of them.” He enlisted that July and stayed in the revolutionary army until hostilities ended in 1783. Martin fought under Washington, Lafayette, and Steuben. He took part in major battles in New York, Monmouth, and Yorktown. He wintered at Valley Forge and then at Morristown, considered even more severe. He wrote of his war years in a memoir that brings the American Revolution alive with telling details, drama, and a country boy’s humor.
Geronimo, Wolf of the Warpath by Ralph Moody – Geronimo, the legendary Indian who inspired and fought for his people. But who was this man, really? Here is the riveting tale of the last Apache warrior —told by the author of the bestselling Little Britches. Born in 1829 and steeped in the skills and stoicism valued by his tribe, Geronimo was transformed into a feared and respected renegade after witnessing the brutal slaughter of his family. Ultimately he spent more than 25 years eluding the U.S. Army, which sent 5,000 soldiers to hunt him down.
Thomas Jefferson, Architect of Freedom by Rita Mullin – One of the great thinkers of all time, Thomas Jefferson helped shape America in its early years, and his ideas continue to inspire us today. His amazing contributions include not only writing the Declaration of Independence, but his actions as the United States’ third President, as well as his influence as a scientist, inventor, farming pioneer, and educator.
Frederick Douglass, Rising Up from Slavery by Francis E. Ruffin – From slave to freedom fighter: that was the long and hard journey taken by Frederick Douglass. Douglass was America’s first great civil rights leader, and he threw off the physical, mental, and legal chains of slavery to become one of America’s greatest champions for human rights. It was said that his life was proof that once black people could read and write about their injustices, they would have the power to end slavery.
Jim Thorpe, An Athlete for the Ages by Ellen C. Lebreqcue – Simply the best: those words perfectly describe the multitalented Native American athlete Jim Thorpe. Not only did he excel at baseball and football, but he also won gold medals in the pentathlon and the decathlon—the only person in Olympic history to do so. This fascinating biography discusses: Thorpe’s many family tragedies—including the childhood death of his twin brother; Why he was temporarily stripped of his gold medals (which were restored posthumously); How he helped establish the sport of major league football; His selection as Greatest Athlete of the 20th century in an Internet poll conducted by ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Kids will enjoy meeting this amazing sports star whose Indian name aptly meant “Bright Path.”