WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The word "hero" is tossed around loosely in our society. Athletes and movie stars are often given that title.
But one South Florida dad wanted his children to be inspired by some "true" heroes. So he put 60 examples in a book.
The day Brad Meltzer's children were born he decided to write a book with all the rules on how to be good men and women.
"I figured I'd hand it to them and they would say you are the indeed the greatest father of all time", said Meltzer, who says "I planned a parade for myself, it was going to be spectacular!"
There was only one problem.
"What I didn't realize was, I didn't know anything about being a dad," said Meltzer.
But he did know how to write. Brad Meltzer is the best-selling author of 8 novels. He decided, what better way to inspire his children then to introduce them to some "real" role models.
"Heroes for My Son" came out in 2010 and on April 10 the companion book was released. It's the one Lila Meltzer has been waiting 6 years for.
"Heroes for My Daughter" is a reminder to my daughter what a real hero is, not a reality star or stupid sports athlete, it's these amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony,people you kinda think you know, but you read the stories and go, 'Oh my gosh, this person is amazing!' I get to share with my daughter and watch her flip through and say, that's what Sacajawea really did, she's amazing Dad," says Meltzer.
From Sally Ride, to Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz Cooney, to Tina Turner, the heroes Brad profiles run the gamut.
Lucielle Ball made the book, not because she's America's favorite red head, but because she overcame a dark childhood.
"She had a grandmother who used to think happiness was a sin. There were no mirrors in the house, she covered them all thinking they would lead to vanity. Lucy learned to smile by seeing her own reflection in cable car windows. To me it's the lesson of every "I Love Lucy" episode and of her own life that humor can take on anything," says Meltzer.
Rosa Parks, Temple Grandin , Christopher Reeve and Abraham Lincoln are also featured In Heroes for My Daughter. So too are ordinary people like Alexandra Stone.
The 4 year old started a lemonade stand to raise money for find a cure for her disease.
"To this day, Alex's Lemonade stands are still going strong and have raised over 45 million dollars to help kids with cancer. One dream, one girl, one amazing idea. I love that story," says Meltzer.
You may not know Sheila Spicer. But you probably know someone like her. She was Brad's 9th grade English teacher, the first one who told him he could write.
"Sure enough, 12 years later, I went back to her classroom when my first novel was published. I said I'm Brad Meltzer and I wrote this book for you. She started crying and I asked why. She said I was going to retire this year because I didn't think I was having an impact anymore. I said, are you kidding me, you changed my life!"
Brad also includes his personal heroes. His grandmother Dotty Rubin, his mom Teri and his wife Cori.
"That's the most important hero in our lives, the hero we live with everyday, " says Mleltzer.
Sixty heroes. Sexty stories. Sixty reminders to his daughter, that anything is possible.
" I want her (his daughter Lila) to know that there are these amazing heroes and if she dreams big and works hard she can do anything in this world," he says.
Girls and women can now proudly wear their heroes in addition to reading about them.
After finding only clothing with princess logos for his daughter, Brad teamed up with the estates of some heroes in the book and came up with a line of "Real Hero" shirts. Check them out for yourself at www.ordinarypeoplechangetheworld.com
Author Brad Meltzer's website is www.bradmeltzer.com