Seven Child Heroes We Respect (Don’t Forget to Check out #7!)
We started the #DearOrangeyTan hashtag when we heard from a few mothers who’d read our books. They had stories of kids rising above the hatred that followed people of color in America under Orangey-Tan. Although it broke our hearts to see the world we had made for our kids, we realized that there’s no better way to criticize this abomination than through the innocence of a child. Honestly, they’re way better leaders than we could ever hope to be. That got us thinking about our favorite child heroes and here’s what we came up with:
1. Malala Yousafzai
When Malala was fifteen, she was shot in the head by the Taliban, an insurgent group in Afghanistan. She was targeted because she spoke out against the ban on education for girls that they imposed in her area. The attempt to take her life saw responses around the world pouring in, from governments and people alike, denouncing the Taliban. Since her recovery, she has gone on to bring global attention to the lack of educational opportunities available to millions of girls around the world. At 17, she is also the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner.
2. Yara Shahidi
Yara used her platform as a prominent child actress in Hollywood to talk about issues like diversity representation in the media. She is the founder of Eighteen x 18, an organization that aims to encourage the youth to vote. She also recognized the importance of empowering women to pursue their education, by setting up Yara's Club. It organizes digital hangouts for high school students to congregate and talk about social issues and to seek mentorship to break out of poverty through education.
3. Greta Thunberg
This Swedish activist has become a household name through her efforts to spark action against climate change. Her journey began when she skipped school to protest outside the Swedish parliament which was later turned into a series of school protests. Her movement gained traction when she addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, where she called out major world leaders, asking them to take action. She has since been the youngest Time Person of the Year, and a role model for a multitude of student strikes around the world. She was also named PETA’s Youth Role Model of the year because of her stance on veganism.
4. Marley Dias
At 11, Marley realized that all her mandatory book readings featured white children and didn’t espouse any diversity. She started a book drive, intending to collect 1,000 books that had black female protagonists to circulate among young girls. It was immensely successful, collecting over 9,000 books in a few months. They were sent to a Jamaican children’s book drive. The act gave birth to a lot of discourse about the representation of different minorities in literature as main characters, not merely supplementary ones. She even authored a book to guide potential children activists in 2018.
5. Desmond Napoles
Known by the stage name Desmond is Amazing, Desmond Napoles is a child drag performer and a prominent LGBTQIA+ activist. His work has been recognized by various social rights organizations and media outlets as an icon for children to embrace who they want to be. He has written a book titled Be Amazing: A History of Pride. He is also one of the youngest models ever to walk the ramp at the New York Fashion Week.
6. Bana Al-Abed
At the height of the Syrian migrant crisis - one of the worst humanitarian crises of all time - seven-year-old Bana al-Abed did what most people around her were afraid of doing. Using her Twitter profile, she got the entire world's attention to how her hometown Aleppo was being ravaged by airstrikes and fighting. She tweeted about her fellow Syrians who were homeless, dying from hunger, and had lost their loved ones. Her bold hashtags such as #StandWithAleppo and #HolocaustAleppo went viral on Twitter and garnered support from millions. Now the author of the book Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace in which she recounts her experiences living through the siege of Aleppo, Bana wants the world to pay heed to the devastation caused by the migrant crisis across the Middle East.
At Manimal Tales, we believe that every child has the potential to be their own hero. They just need to have the courage of their convictions and know that they have the power to stand up, not just for themselves, but also for those less able to stand up on their own. The dedication included in the Orangey-Tan book sums this up nicely:
We firmly believe that no one should underestimate the power of just one child standing up for their beliefs, and the impact that a child can have on the world. Our list above proves that to be true!
Manimal Tales titles allow your kid to be the hero, and the manimals teach them to reach in, and unleash their inner fighter against objectively wrong situations. Our illustrations keep their interest piqued to the very end, and with each page they flip, their red cape is sure to grow longer, and their belief in themselves sure to grow stronger!
Who’s your favorite child-hero? Let us know!