When writer Brad Meltzer was growing up, his grandfather made up stories for him about Batman, instilling a love a heroes, both real and fictional, that’s lasted Meltzer’s entire life.
His new book, Heroes for My Son, was written both as a tribute to his real-life heroes growing up and, hopefully, to inspire his sons and others as grandfather did for him.
Heroes for My Son is dedicated to Meltzer’s sons, Theo and Jonas. It features stories about an eclectic group of fifty-two heroes that range from the obvious, like Nelson Mandela, to those who should be more widely honored, like Norman Borlaug, and to Presidents such as Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush.
What I enjoyed most about reading this book is that Meltzer found the one moment in their lives where these heroes were at their best such as Bush’s actions as a pilot in World War II, or Lucille Ball’s rising above being taught that happiness was a sin. I admit, I choked up a time or two. And I was particularly pleased to see Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster included in the book.
I asked Meltzer how he decided on these particular heroes.
He said “I started with easy people like my Mom and my grandfather. After them, I went for people I loved growing up, like Jim Henson and Mr. Rogers. Then there were the obvious ones like Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, and Muhammad Ali. And then it was tons of research, sorting through history. I didn’t just want the stories of great people. I wanted the singular moment that made them great.”
Since he grew up on stories of Batman and has written superhero comics for DC, I asked Meltzer if his kids read comics and if they had any favorites.
“My son is right now in a huge Flintstones/Jetsons phase, which brings me no small amount of huge pride,” he said.
There’s a blank page at the end of the book to add a photo of your own hero as well.I suspect it would make a great Father’s Day gift, especially with the last page filled out with a photo and story about your father.