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Curricula and Learning Links - History

Heroes and People Who Overcame Obstacles

The study of heroes is one of the best activities you can do with young people. Heroes inspire us by showing what people can do at their best: overcome obstacles, do the "impossible," save lives, achieve amazing goals.

What does it take to be a hero? This is an outstanding topic for discussion! Did people have to do more in the past to be called a hero than they do now? What standards are heroes held to? Can one be a hero and uphold Christian values at the same time?

Below are some hero stories to get you started. Please help us build this page by letting us know your favorite titles on our comments page. Thank you!

William Still of Philadelphia, PA -- son of an escaped slave, self educated. Helped thousands of runaway slaves get to Canada and be reunited with their families. He worked extensively with Quaker Thomas Garrett of Delaware, another unsung hero who was thrown in jail and lost all of his money because of helping slaves to escape. The book, Dear Friend tells their story. Levi Coffin, a Quaker from Cincinnati, was called "President" of the Underground Railroad. You will be absolutely astonished at the risks these men took for their cause. -- Martha R.

Alvin York -- the greatest war hero of The Great War (World War I.) Read the story of this Christian hero in The Diary of Alvin York.

Monty Stratton -- At the height of his baseball career, Monty Stratton accidentally shot himself in the leg and had to have it amputated. His is a story of overcoming difficulties. The Stratton Story with Jimmy Stewart and June Lockhart is available on video.

The Tuskegee Airmen -- Young black men who overcame prejudice and bigotry to become a top notch group of pilots in World War II. My family had the privilege of meeting some of these men recently, and their story is truly one of overcoming obstacles to achieve stunning success. -- Martha R.

Medal of Honor recipients -- Our nation's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor has been given only about 3,400 times since its creation in 1861. Reading the citations of these heroes is guaranteed to provide inspiration! Medal of Honor

Books With Stories of Heroes

William Booth: Soup, Soap, and Salvation by Janet and Geoff Benge
And others in the Christian Heroes: Then & Now" series. Published by Youth with a Mission.

A Boy's War by David Michell
A true story of a boy in China in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II.

Sergeant York and the Great War
Alvin York's experience in WWI. He was from the mountains of Tennessee, with a third grade education, and a tremendous faith in God.

Return with Honor by Scott O'Grady
An F-16 pilot is shot down over enemy territory, but his faith and wits carry him through days of pursuit by the enemy until his daring rescue by U.S. forces.

The Courage of Dr. Lister by Iris Noble.
Story of Dr. Joseph Lister, famous surgeon of the 1800's, who introduced the idea of sterile surgery. (This book is out of print, but readily available.)

Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
Born in slavery, Booker T. Washington received an education after being freed by the 13th Amendment. He became the first leader of Tuskegee Institute, a university originally set up for black Americans. He became a spokesman for freed slaves and an activist for civil rights.

Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry
A boy faces overcomes his fear of the Ocean, which took his mother's life.

The Matchlock Gun
Small children living in Indian territory face an attack on their own.

Twenty and Ten by Walter D. Edmonds
Ingenious children in an orphanage deal with deceiving the Nazi's while they protect Jewish children hiding among them.

Please let us know about new books to add, broken links, and inappropriate links by leaving a message on our comment page. Thank you!