I love a good hero or heroine and I seek out inspirational stories on the daily. Therefore, when I found out that Brad Meltzer, famous and best-selling mystery and thriller author, had a book called Heroes for My Daughter, I knew I had to check it out. This book covered fifty-seven heroes that Meltzer thinks his daughter, who was six at the time of the writing, should know about as she grows up. I appreciated that there were heroes and heroines in this book, because women don’t only have to look up to women. We can learn from brave and thoughtful men too. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking to feel inspired or for a jumping off point to read more about some of these heroes. Meltzer provides a short anecdote about each hero, but there is no reason you can’t take what he provides and dig further into the record.

Some of these heroes are traditional and expected, like Helen Keller, Anne Frank, and Susan B Anthony. They would be a hero if they weren’t included on this list, so while I can always appreciate hearing their stories, because they are heroes, I especially liked the “nontraditional” heroes that Meltzer included, especially ones from this century. It is further proof that heroes are not relegated to the past. They walk among us today.

I teared up several times reading this book, and it started with the introduction. Meltzer dedicated this book to his daughter, as you might have guessed, but his hopes and aspirations for this little girl filled the page and beyond. All parents love their children, but it is always so refreshing to see such ardent love and admiration create something for the betterment of others, such as this book, which will be read by not only his daughter, but many many more. Some of the stories, even ones I’ve heard before (like Flight 93) were extremely heartwarming and made me so happy for humanity.

Here are the fifty-seven people that Brad Meltzer recommended as heroes for his daughter. You can learn more of their stories by googling them, picking up their autobiography, or picking up Meltzer’s book. His inclusion of them on this list is proof that there are real heroes out there for young girl and boys, and we need only look to history and the present to find them. Here is to the heroes to come, and the many of you that will no doubt be heroes for your own daughters.

Some of my personal favorites are Mallory Holtman and Liza Wallace, Alex Scott, and Sheila Spicer. They are all contemporary heroes that show us the real beauty in everyday humanity and inspired me to think more thoughtfully about the small-town heroes in my life. Whether it’s helping a teammate, starting a lemonade stand, or encouraging a young writer, you can make a difference.

  1. Marie Curie – Scientist. Researcher. Nobel Prize Winner.

  2. Mallory Holtman and Liza Wallace – Softball players

  3. Joan Ganz Cooney – Helped create Sesame Street

  4. Audrey Hepburn – Actress. Ambassador. Relief worker.

  5. Helen Keller – Deaf. Blind. Limitless.

  6. Christopher Reeve – Actor. Activist for spinal cord research

  7. Carol Burnett – Actress. Funny lady. Woman of her word.

  8. Amelia Earhart – Record Breaker. High-flying pilot.

  9. Alex Scott – Founder of Alex’s Lemonade Stand

  10. Abigail Adams – Wife. Mother. Patriot

  11. Anne Frank – Author of The Diary of a Young Girl

  12. Dorothy Day – Advocate for the poor and homeless

  13. Judy Blume – Bestselling author. Beloved storyteller.

  14. Sacajawea – Explorer. Team member.

  15. Theodore Roosevelt – Rough rider. Trustbuster. President.

  16. Julia Child – Passionate chef. Secret spy.

  17. Golda Meir – Foreign minister. Prime minister

  18. Stevie Wonder – Musical Prodigy. Legendary singer-songwriter.

  19. Susan B Anthony – Advocate for giving women the right to vote

  20. Nancy G Brinker – Founder of Susan G Komen

  21. Clara Barton – Schoolteacher. Activist. Founder of the American Red Cross

  22. Sheila Spicer – Teacher.

  23. Winston Churchill – Prime Minister of Great Britain

  24. Lisa Simpson – Sax player. Middle child.

  25. Eleanor Roosevelt – Activist. Role model. Wife of President Franklin Roosevelt

  26. Tina Turner – Singer. Rock ‘n’ roll legend.

  27. The Three Stooges – Slapstick comedians.

  28. Wangari Maathai – Founder of the Greenbelt Movement. First African Woman to win the Nobel Prize

  29. Agatha Christi e -Queen of Crime.

  30. Leonardo da Vinci – Artist. Engineer. Painter. Architect. Sculptor. Inventor.

  31. Dolly Parton – Legendary singer-songwriter. Businesswoman.

  32. Sojourner Truth – Abolitionist. Speaker. Fighter.

  33. Branch Rickey – General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers

  34. Lucille Ball – Actress. Trailblazer.

  35. Elizabeth Blackburn – Nobel Prize Winner.

  36. Ella Fitzgerald – Jazz singer. Music icon.

  37. Mahatma Gandhi – Spiritual leader. Political icon. Pacifist.

  38. Mary Shelley – author of Frankenstein

  39. Rochelle Shoretz – Lawyer. Advocate. Lion

  40. Tank Man – Tiananmen Square Protestor

  41. Billie Jean King – Tennis legend. Giant slayer.

  42. The Heroes of United Flight 93 – Lifesavers.

  43. Temple Grandin – Autism activist. Role model.

  44. Rosa Parks – Mother of the Civil Rights Movement

  45. Jane Goodall – Famed primatologist. Environmental advocate.

  46. The Dalai Lama – World leader. Buddhist monk.

  47. Abraham Lincoln – Lawyer. Speaker. President

  48. Thurgood Marshall – First black US Supreme Court Justice

  49. Dorothea Lange – Photographer.

  50. Hannah Senesh – Poet. World War II Fighter.

  51. Randy Pausch – Professor. Author of The Last Lecture.

  52. Sally Ride – Astronaut. First American Woman in Space.

  53. Benjamin Franklin – Founding Father. Big thinker.

  54. Wila Rudolph – Fastest woman on Earth.

  55. Dotty Rubin – Meltzer’s grandmother

  56. Teri Meltzer – Meltzer’s mother

  57. Cori Flam Meltzer – Mother, and Meltzer’s wife

    To get your copy of “Heroes for my Daughter” click here.

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Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member