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When heroes let us down

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Author: Margaret Finnegan

One of the greatest struggles of adolescence—really life—is learning to keep contradictory ideas in our minds. Accept that people can be good and bad, heroes and villains at the same time. This is how we transform from concrete thinkers to abstract thinkers, from children to adults.

This fight is at the core of my new intermediate novel Susie B. Will not back downThe hero of Susie B. is Susan B. Anthony. same as me, She learned that her hero was…complex. This pioneering defender of feminism—an abolitionist of the death penalty and a friend of black leaders, including Frederick Douglas—openly opposed the amendment that gave black men the right to vote. She has decided that she would rather have no black votes at all than let black men but women of no race vote. In later years, she refused to support black feminists vocally for fear that she might offend whites.

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Susie B. struggles with how to understand this paradox. As she herself ran for the president of the student union, her struggle became more difficult. When she was sailing in the political waters of elementary school, she learned that politics can produce strange bed-like dreams, and asked questions about not only how to do the right thing, but even knowing what is the right thing.

Isn’t this a hero’s dilemma? What is correct? How do we know? When we are doomed to make mistakes, let others down, and behave as flawed as all of us, how can we be our best selves? What should we do when the person we admire is as imperfect as we are? Will we throw them into the garbage dump? Do we paint for their mistakes? Have we found a way to solve the paradox that anyone has in our hands?

These are very difficult questions, but they are also very good questions for young readers. Investigating them helps them grow and eventually grow into human, humble, and compassionate people.

5 intermediate novels that encourage abstract thinking


break out
Via Kate Messner. As the warden’s daughter, Nora Tucker met a friend whose brother was imprisoned, and her views on crime and punishment became complicated. When the two prisoners escaped from the prison and the town was sealed off, the drama became more intense.
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The stars under our feet
David Barclays Moore. After the violent death of his brother, Lolly Rachpaul found herself wandering between the urge to seek revenge and the desire to maintain herself through Lego art.
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ghost
By Jason Reynolds. Ghost (also known as Castle Cranshaw) has a complicated family history and dream-running. He has talent, but he doesn’t have the fancy shoes that runners need. In his efforts to solve this problem, he met mentors and friends who helped him gain integrity and hope. The first part of the track series.
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Manaran
Pam Muñoz Ryan (Pam ​​Muñoz Ryan). When Maximiliano Cordoba has the opportunity to continue the family’s tradition of helping refugees, he must face a difficult and dangerous choice: helping strangers or staying at home, following the rules, may be able to achieve his hometown The dream of beloved football team selection.
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Wish in the dark
Author: Christina Santon Watt.In this reimagining pitful, A sort of The boy named Pong wants to know how to balance his secret past with his desire for a freer and more open future. At the same time, soldiers determined to find him are forced to reassess the true meaning of justice.
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About Margaret Finnegan

Photo by Skye Moorehead

Margaret Finnegan is the author of intermediate novels Susie B. Will not back down with We can be heroes. Her work usually focuses on tolerance, difficult choices and true to her own themes. She also made a very good chocolate cake.To learn more and download the free discussion guide, please visit MargaretFinnegan.com. Twitter: @FinneganBegin Weibo: @finnegan start

Five intermediate novels that encourage readers to go beyond concrete thinking

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