Great American Heroes!

A Very Special Announcement for Coweta County Schools!

To celebrate the release of my new book, Crystal City Lights, I am sponsoring a writing contest for all third, fourth, and fifth graders in Coweta County. The theme is

Great American Heroes!

WHO: This contest is open to all Coweta County students enrolled in grades 3 through 5.

CATEGORIES: There will be up to FIVE winners selected from each grade.

PRIZE: Each winner will become a PUBLISHED AUTHOR! The winning stories will be published together in a book, Great American Heroes, by White Pelican Press. The winning writer and their teacher will each receive a copy of the book. Additional copies will be available upon request. (Winning authors will not receive any monetary compensation for their stories.)


Your story must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be about a real American person who you believe is a hero. People from history or present day are acceptable. Your hero does not have to be famous! (No Superman, Batman, Incredible Hulk, or Wonder Woman stories, please.)
  • It must explain why you believe this person is a hero.
  • It must be be no more than 1,000 words.
  • It must have a great title!
  • It must be typed and edited. A parent or teacher may help with the editing and typing, but the words must be yours!
  • It must be submitted by March 29, 2013.


All stories will be judged according to the following standards:

  • How well does this story fit the theme, Great American Heroes? (40 percent)
  • Does this writer use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation? (30 percent)
  • Is this story interesting? Does it make the reader want to learn more about this hero? (30 percent)


Please submit your story as a Word document attached to an email. Be sure to write Great American Heroes in the subject line!

Send it to this email address: [email protected]

Include the following information in the body of your email:

  • Your Name
  • The Title of your story
  • Your Grade
  • Your School
  • Your Teacher’s Name and her School Email Address
  • If you do not want to send your entry in an email,  you may send it to this address:   White Pelican Press, 132 Marcella Ave., Sharpsburg, GA. 30277


Winners will be notified by an email sent to their teacher’s school email account. Winners will be announced on or before April 30, 2013.

Now, read on to get some ideas about heroes. Maybe the writing activities will help you get started on a winning story! Who knows? Maybe by April, YOU could be a published author!


When I say the word hero, what do you think of?

Superman? Batman? Wonder Woman? Your teacher? Your dad?

Quick! Get a piece of paper, and write the names of five people who pop into your head when you think of heroes. What do all your heroes have in common?

Here are just a few of my heroes. Some are famous, some aren’t so famous. Which faces do you recognize? To me, they’re all heroes!


There are so many more heroes I could name! Police officers, teachers, mothers, fathers, volunteers who work in the community to help build houses or feed the hungry….the list goes on and on!

So, what makes a person a hero? Superpowers? A cape? A secret identity? A can of spinach?

Try a little brainstorming. Look at the webs two writers completed before they wrote essays about heroes. What qualities do you agree with? What would you change?


Make a web of your own, listing some of these characteristics and some of your own.

Here’s a top 10 Character Trait List!


10 Significant Characteristics of a Hero

Bravery: “You can’t be brave if you’ve had only
wonderful things happen to you.” ~ Mary Tyler More: This is the most
important characteristic of a hero. You have to be brave to stand up and fight.

Courage: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to
continue that counts” ~ Winston Churchill: You need the courage to fight a
situation no matter how bad it is. Heroes have the fear of losing but they also
have the courage to drive away that fear.

Determination: “The difference between the impossible and possible lies in
a man’s determination.” ~ Tommy Lasorda: When you have the determination
to fight something, no matter how weak you are, you will win.

Dedication: “The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small
voice’ within me.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi: Dedication in a task pays off

Endurance: “Don’t pray for lighter burdens, but for stronger backs.”
~ Unknown: If you are strong enough to face failure, nothing can stop you from
achieving your goal.

Perseverance: “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang
on.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt: When you are persistent, you are bound to be
victorious eventually.

Valor: “Where life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest
valor to dare to live.” ~ Thomas Brown Sr: To be bold enough to stand
against the wrong when no one can show true heroism.

Selflessness: “Without selfless service, no one ever receives the fruits
of their rewards.” ~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib: You have to be selfless in
your life to be remembered as a hero.

Sacrifice: “Those things that are precious are saved only by
sacrifice.” ~ David Kenyon Webster: It is very difficult to make
sacrifices but a true hero sacrifices without hesitating.

Humility: “To become truly great, one has to stand with the people, not
above them.” ~ Charles de Montesquieu. You shouldn’t have airs about
yourself but be down to earth and humble.

Who has been a hero in your life? Write a story about them. If you’d like, send it to me. I’d love to read it!

I want to end this blog with a quote by another one of my heroes, Eleanor Roosevelt.

We  gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really  stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we  cannot.


Have a great week!