Jun 13, 2015

Guest Post: Every Hero has a story… but why do they all seem to look the same?

This post written by Rebecca Pettyjohn

This summer, I have had the privilege to work with Carissa for my library school practicum at UW. Our summer reading theme this year (like many of yours I am sure!) is “Every Hero Has a Story!” capitalizing on our Marvel mad society where these days every summer there is at least 1 blockbuster where someone is wearing a cape. But unfortunately, much like the Marvel universe, we are encountering a world of books and resources where our heroes do not necessarily reflect the diversity of the community we live in. The biggest lesson I have learned watching Carissa put together our Superhero Story Time kit is how to dig and keep looking. And how when something just doesn’t exist, we need to improvise.

This is definitely true in our felt board collection. Inventorying felt boards at the start of the summer made me realize we mostly see animals from woods, farms, even jungles… but not superheroes and not a very diverse cast. This was so much the case, that a few years ago, Carissa actually created her own rhyme and felt board featuring a… wait for it… GIRL super character! I was inspired. I picked up my felt and scissors and got to cutting. 
Meet Darius! Darius is modeled after one of my old students, and who I had in mind when creating an Enthusiastic! Energetic! But not always organized... hero. Daruis’ brown skin and dark textured hair were chosen to better reflect our children of color who are also frustratingly not featured predominately in our superhero stories. They deserve to see their super selves too!

Darius is loyal! Friend to all those in need! Now if he could only remember his super suit! I hope his poem and this pattern adds to all your story time collections this summer and for years to come.

A Superhero Suits Up:

What's that sound? I heard the call!

For I'm the greatest superhero of them all!

I'm off, I'm ready, I'm almost there! 
Oh wait... I'm in my underwear? 

I'll need my cape to help me fly, 
And my rocket boots to traverse the sky, 

Now I'm set and ready to go!
I think I'm forgetting something though...

That's right! My super belt of utility, 
And my goggles to increase visibility! 

Now I'm off, I'm out the door! 
Why do I think there's something more? 

That's so weird to feel a breeze
Where I should be covered.... Oh no! Wiz gees! 

I need my SUIT with my super star 
To go adventuring near and far! 

Oh wait, what's that? The danger's through
There's no more crime fighting left to do? 

But I'm all dressed up! Oh sigh, oh well, 
At least my outfit's looking swell...

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