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Celebrating and Creating Heroes

October 6, 2008   

Submitted by Lisa Nelson 

When I heard about the book Candace May had written with her grandfather’s life story, I was so excited about storybooking. I immediately thought of two people who were heroes in my life and who I wanted my first books to be about-my grandmothers.  

Grandma Hatch was faced with many trials, yet kept her faith, sense of humor and love for family and friends.  We created her book using artist illustrations, because lack of money made childhood photos scarce, and partial paralysis in her face from a brain tumor made photos sometimes uncomfortable for her.  I wanted to create a book she would be really proud of-one that her great-grandchildren would love to read and that would make learning about her life really fun. This book became the favorite among her posterity, and when my step-children met their great-grandmother for the first time, because they had already read her life story, they sat with her like they knew her well, and loved her already.

My other grandmother lived a simple life as a teacher and the wife of a farmer, yet she impacted more people in her little community than anyone could, but would never hear a word of praise.  When I began the process for her book, I had to break through the initial barrier of, “You want to write a book about me?  I haven’t done anything special.”  As we sorted through her photos and she responded to the questions I was asking about her life, I knew she knew as I did, that her life was of significance to many people, and the love and service she provided to so many others would be remembered for generations to come. What a better role model for her posterity than the simple story of a woman who worked hard, loved deeply, and served those in need.  Until the day she passed away, her book was displayed proudly in her home and hospital room, and today continues to be in the hands of friends and family.

Stories of heroes like my grandmothers are common in many people’s lives, and helping to write those stories was something I wanted to do.  I knew I couldn’t leave a profession I found as meaningful as teaching elementary school unless I replaced it with something I felt was of equal importance. Our concept of celebrating real-life heroes, and helping children understand and appreciate the values from their heritage, has the potential to create a major impact on future generations.

I fell in love with the storybooking concept because it helped my heroes see they truly are heroes, and I knew the simple and fun books were pieces of heritage that were really going to be read by children and others who would benefit from reading them. Helping children learn from great examples and feel an increased sense of self-esteem as they are in books of their own, was a concept that had potential to make a difference, and I wanted to help make it happen. Heritage Makes is truly a business that celebrates and creates heroes.