Brad Meltzer explains the importance of offering our kids real American heroes to look up to

Brad Meltzer joined the radio program this morning to discuss his two new history books aimed at giving our children a chance to learn about some real American heroes. Brad, who a son and daughter of his own, is on mission to offer kids alternative role models to the athletes, celebrities, and reality stars who often have questionable morals and are rarely heroic. I am Abraham Lincoln and I am Amelia Earhart both share a common theme: We can all be heroes.

“I want to talk about a couple of things. You have two children’s books out: I am Abraham Lincoln and I am Amelia Earhart,” Glenn said. “They are kind of like cartoon books… so you could read them to your kid, and they get an early introduction to two great heroes.”

“Well, the books came about because I was tired of watching my kids look at reality TV show stars and loud mouth athletes and think that’s a hero. I tell my kids all the time: Being famous is very different than being a hero,” Brad explained. “I thought, I have so many better heroes for them… and so we did illustrated children’s books. You will see Lincoln free the slaves and see the things we know about them, but the most vital part of the book is when you see the characters when they are younger.”

What makes Brad’s books different than a traditional children’s history book is the fact that the Abraham Lincoln and Amelia Earhart appear in the book as children, and the stories told about their childhoods are true.

Brad tells the story of a young Lincoln, who happened to be a turtle lover, standing up to a group of boys who were torturing turtles by putting smoldering coals on their backs to make them run faster. In the Earhart book, Brad shares the story of how she built a roller coaster in backyard, and it was her first real experience with flying.

“When I tell my kids, Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves… it is obviously a vital fact, but when you give them something like from when he’s young, history is fun again for those kids,” Brad said. “To me, that’s what’s wrong today. We have lost the definition of ‘hero’. The definition of hero is broken, and my goal here is to set it right and give kids heroes again because we need them.”

I am Amelia Earhart and I am Abraham Lincoln, they are available in book stores everywhere,” Glenn said. “Brad Meltzer, a true historian, a guy who gets it, a guy who understands we have to grab onto the culture and grab o to our own history. I urge you
buy the books for your children.”

Watch the full interview below:

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Learn more about the books Glenn talks about on his program HERE. ‪

  • Anonymous

    I suppose it boils down to, who the people you think are hero’s. Meaning, there are those on the left who might think Rev. Al Sharpton is in fact, a hero, on the other side of the political divide, they might not necessarily agree. Maybe, the account of the life of Jesus might be suitable for a true hero, nope..not in America, well then, I think the question is – does America even understand anymore, what a true hero is. But thank you Brad, what you are doing will help inspire our children’s minds to reach for higher goals.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

    My hero for history has to be Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

  • landofaahs

    The only hero I need is the Father, Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. All others are flawed.

  • Anonymous

    I see where you’re coming from and its to bad more people in America don’t write inspiring books, say, for instance, about the Apostles of Christ, the fact that more of our children don’t have a clue even what the names of the men were, who wrote the gospels and that they walked, and talked, and cried, and laughed with God in the flesh is a shame. I mean there is some really exciting stories ready to be discovered , but of course, the latest ‘play-station’ tops the priority list.

  • Anonymous

    The only heroes to a child should be the parents. Anybody else is nothing more than an idol.

  • landofaahs

    Sadly that is the case increasingly. It’s the time and culture we are in. I had some success by reading some of the really exciting things in the Bible to them to pique their curiosity and for the most part it worked. You just leave it off at the cliff hanger part and then stop. When they want to know more, you show them which chapter and let them read the whole of it.

  • Anonymous

    Good for you, of course when children reach the age of double-didgets they know more than us adults anyway, so, what you describe will work when they are young. There’s a scripture in the bible I forget exactly where it is, Psalms perhaps, but it basically says this…’teach them when they are young, for when they become older, they’ll come back to it’

    Now that implies to me, that even God understood the nature of our young people, having the need and desire to spread their wings and break away from the authority of parents, and when these (now young adults) get a taste of the real world first hand, they’ll discover mom and dad weren’t sot bad after all.

  • Mike Nelson

    Even the modern men that someone could (sort of) relate to today are forgotten:

    George Patton
    Alvin York
    Karen Emma Walden
    Todd Beamer
    “that guy” who talked down a gunman (pick your local hero)

    All names that should be on the tip of anyone’s tongue, but instead we know Lady Gaga, Brett Favre, Alec Baldwin, and Barak 0bama, and we poison ourselves with TV.

    It’s not only a lack of Faith, or knowledge of history… it’s a complete breakdown of understanding why heroes are heroes, and what values make us free. We equate fame for accomplishment.

    And therein, we Fail.

  • Anonymous

    Right, after all, America has had quite a rich and diverse history in just a little over two-centuries, but as you rightly point out, how do football players end up on the hero’s list
    There may be though,an exception to the rule, saw a news report the other morning, about a current Seattle Sea Hawk, I don’t know if I would consider this guy a hero, but his story should serve as an inspiration to those who are told they don’t quite add up to the average “joe” – this kid was completely deaf and struggled immensely throughout his life to achieve his status of successes. I’m a Pats fan though, so I’m rooting for the Hawks to at least get to the “big game” – as they legally say today, but once there, its Pats or go home…but yes, I hear what you’re saying and feel much the same way.

  • fire lion

    those three are as as fictional as wolverine.

  • fire lion

    The only heroes are the ultra rich. Isnt what conservatives tell us? Everyone wants to be rich.

  • Johnathan Read

    Brad Meltzer is a National Treasure.His knowledge of History is PRICELESS.

    Not only do we need to offer our kids real American heroes to look up to but we must also encourage the RIGHT people to become teachers and Professors to teach them.

    We desperately need more people like Brad Meltzer..

  • landofaahs

    I know they exist. Just because you are unaware please do not assume that everyone is as ignorant as you.

  • Defend Liberty

    Here’s some food for thought while riding the long train of abuses and usurpations: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094KY878

  • Anngie

    Progressive modern historians have completely lost sight of the reason for legends and heroes. The stories were meant to give the average man an ideal to shoot for. That’s why the heroes were often one dimensional and impossibly perfect. No one was meant to attain that level of perfection, but think how much better a person you’d be if you aimed for a bar set that high. Marvel comics has forgotten this too by showing us what flawed human beings their heroes are. The perfection of heroes never stopped people from admiring and attempting to emulate them before. Why would we need to make them “more like us” to make people want to be like them now?