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List Of Heroes | Van White

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This silly monster with the suspenders appears throughout HEROES. The funny thing is... the book never mentions his name. What do you think his name should be? If we select the name that you suggest, you'll win a FREE Heroes T-shirt for you and your child and $100.00 will be donated to your favorite charity. So send us your ideas.* Enter as many names as you'd like.
* If multiple people suggest the same name, the first person to propose the name will win the T-Shirt.
Please enter your suggestions below.
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Cesar Chavez:

Born to a Mexican-American family, Cesar Chavez is often recognized as the most notable Latino and Labor Rights Activists in America. As a migrant worker in California, Chavez and his family experienced first hand the poor conditions endured by primarly Latino farm workers and as any hero would, decided he would do something about it. He went on to co-found the National Farmer Workers Association (now known as United Farm Worker's Union). He is an icon for Latino empowerment and grassroots organizations.


Emelia Earhart:

Through her heroism, Emelia Earhart demonstrated to a generation of women that the sky is the limit when pursuing their dreams. As an aviation pioneer, Earhart became the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean. As she is one of the founders of the International Organization of Women Pilots (also known as The 99s), her legacy of women's empowerment continues to inspire us more than 70 years after her trans-Atlantic flight.


Fannie Lou Hamer:

Fannie Lou Hamer was an American voting and civil rights activist during the 1950s and 60s. As one of the few female faces of the fight for civil rights in Amerca, Hamer was instrumental in the organizing of integral parts of the movement – playing an important part in the formation of Mississippi's Freedom Summer as well as the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. In 1993, she was posthumously inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in recognition of her positive contribution to society at such a critical point in American history.


John F. Kennedy:

John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is one of our most famous national heroes. He served as the United State's first Catholic president during the height of the Civil Rights movement and and the escalation of the Cold War. Despite the growing civil unrest at home and tensions rising abroad, JFK brought the dream of the United States Peace Corps to fruition, creating a space where American citizens can be “everyday heroes” through volunteerism and intercultural exchange.


Marcus Garvey:

Marcus Garvey was the revolutionary leader of Pan-Africanism, a moved that pushed for stronger bonds, politically and socially, between people of African descent. Dogged in his promotion of a stronger connection of Black people to their ancestral homelands in Africa, Garvey even founded the Black Star Line, a passenger cruise liner which carried people of the African diaspora hoping to find their roots by moving back to the continent. Today he is a symbol of Black power, solidarity, and empowerment.


Robert F. Kennedy:

Kid brother to late President Jack Kennedy, Robert Kennedy is an American hero in his own right. Having served the country as both Attorney General and later as representative in the Senate, the younger Kennedy is most known for his heroic support of a more liberal and equal society through a platform that unquestionably supported racial and economic justice.




Do you have a suggestion for someone from history that you believe is a hero? If so please write that persons name below and why you think they ought to be considered a HERO IN HISTORY.
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Van White is a nationally recognized civil rights lawyer and educator. But, as many will tell you, Van's most important role is that of a father. His children are all grown now.  But, like many parents, he took the time to read bedtime stories to his children when they were younger.  

These bedtime stories (typically read at the end of a hectic day) not only allowed Van to form a bond with his children, but the stories and books which he read (and sometimes made up with the help of his children) effectively communicated the values and insights Van wished to share with his children.  

That's exactly what Van hopes that HEROES does for parents, grandparents, and others who are raising children in today's complex society. Indeed, he hopes HEROES gives parents and other responsible adults the opportunity to communicate and share what's important in life - in this instance the importance of being selfless and being heroic in big and small ways to the people around you.  

While Van has been blessed to have had the opportunity to dialogue about his legal and educational work at the national level (CNN, USA Today, Jet magazine, NPR Radio, Montel Williams Show, National Chair of the Council of Urban Boards of Education etc.), once again, Van understands that the most valuable and effective conversations about who are children are and what they can become, always take place closet to home.


Accordingly, in addition to maintaining an active federal and state civil rights law practice, Van serves as President of his local school board.   The District has the dubious distinction of serving has the third highest child poverty concentration rate in the United States - the highest in New York State.  "More than any place else in the country our children and students need opportunities to read books AND they need more heroes in their lives."

"In addition to needing heroes in their lives, our children also need to understand that they, themselves, must become heroes and role models in their communities."  Using Suess-like prose and colorful images, but never underestimating today's children's ability to understand "big words", Van uses HEROES to get all children to think critically about themselves as heroes - as selfless advocates for the rights and needs of others.  

As parents, and leaders, that really is our best hope for the future - a society made up of people who were taught, as children, to believe that they could and should be HEROES.





A page from "Ned and Fred" one of the illustration drawn by Van for a bedtime story that he created and read to his children.

Van would love to hear from you. Send him a message below.


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