The Bookmark Asks Local Heroes: Who Is Your Favorite Literary Hero or Heroine — And Why?

The Bookmark Asks Local Heroes: Who Is Your Favorite Literary Hero or Heroine — And Why?

As this year’s Summer Reading Program theme for kids is “Every Hero Has a Story,” we thought we could create a summer reading list for adults by asking prominent members of the Pelham community the question, “Who is your favorite literary hero or heroine—and why?”

Their answers are below, but before you read on, note how often the individual’s hero reflects his or her professional or volunteer calling. It’s a true sign of how the books we read affect our lives.

Recently elected School Board Member Evelyn Riedel said, “I read non-fiction, where people are invariably flawed, (but) I guess it would be Francie from ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,’ because it’s my favorite book of all time, and her decision to skip high school and go straight to college inspired me to take educational risks to succeed in life.”

“Aqua Man is my first choice, but unfortunately there were no books written on him,” said Village of Pelham Police Department Detective John Hynes. “I do enjoy Det. Alex Cross in the James Patterson books. He investigates many major crimes and still tries to have a normal family life at home.”

As befits his profession, Village of Pelham Mayor Michael Volpe said: “If limited to one hero in literature, I’d point to Atticus Finch from ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’ As a lawyer and advocate for clients, Atticus inspired me (along with a great uncle who was a lawyer) to go to law school and practice law.”

Pelham Manor Mayor and fellow lawyer Jennifer Monachino Lapey also chose someone from the legal profession. “My literary hero would probably be Jan Schlictmann, the main character in ‘A Civil Action’ by Jonathan Harr,” she said. “His efforts, chronicled in the book, demonstrate a no-nonsense approach to lawyering, tenacity in investigating the toxic torts case in Woburn, Massachusetts, and an injection of the human element into professional endeavors.”

Since reporting is often detective work, Pelham Weekly Editor Maggie Klein’s favorite heroine also made a lot of sense. “I think I read every Nancy Drew mystery one summer when I was a pre-teen or teen,” she said. “I never really thought about her awakening any of my feminist ideas until I read this in Wikipedia today: ‘A cultural icon, Nancy Drew has been cited as a formative influence by a number of women, from Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Sonia Sotomayor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former First Lady Laura Bush. Feminist literary critics have analyzed the character’s enduring appeal, arguing variously that Nancy Drew is a mythic hero, an expression of wish fulfillment, or an embodiment of contradictory ideas about femininity.’”

Maggie wondered if the books are still around. Good news! They are, as is the companion “Hardy Boys” series.

Said Pelham Town Supervisor Pete DiPaola: “One of my literary heroes is from a book I recently read, ‘Unbroken.’ It is the true story of Louis Zamperini, a World War II prisoner of war survivor, Olympic long-distance champion and Christian inspirational speaker.

“From the time he was a young man he worked to overcome what people thought were his shortcomings. He strove to prove that if he worked hard and believed in himself, nothing could stop him from achieving his goals.”

County Harvest president Missy Palmisciano said: “I can’t say that I have a favorite heroine or hero, but I do have a favorite book: ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’ by John Irving. I’ve never read a book twice, but I’ve often thought of picking this one up again.”

Maybe this summer, Missy!


There are plenty of events all summer long at the Library, but there’s one part of summer that can really happen anywhere. That’s participation in the Summer Reading Game.

The Reading Game is open to children in pre-school through grade 8. Pre-school children can sign up and get a book prize once they have listened to six stories. School-age children earn a free book upon reading three age-appropriate books. More books equals more prizes! Sign up continues through July 31, and the annual ice cream party is Thursday, Aug. 20, from 1:30-2:30pm. Happy reading!


• Create Your Own Comic Book Hero Series: Mondays, June 29 though July 27; 4:15-5:00pm. Suitable for children age 8 – 12, this series will be taught by local artist Mike Teator. Registration is required. This program is funded by the Mayer family in memory of Karin and Ted (our beloved Superman) Mayer.

• Picture Book Theater: Mondays, June 29 through July 27, 2:00-2:45pm. Librarian Lil theatrically performs classic children’s stories with familiar heroes. Registration is not required.

June 29: “Where the Wild Things Are”
July 6: “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”
July 13: “The Little Red Hen”
July 20: “Stone Soup”
July 27: “Anansi”

• Family Night at the Movies: Mondays, June 29 through Aug. 17, 7:00pm. See your favorite hero movies all summer long. Registration is not required.

June 29: Brave
July 6: The Incredibles
July 13: The Lego Movie
July 20: Boxtrolls
July 27: Wreck-It Ralph
August 3: Toy Story
August 10: Astro Boy
August 17: Planes, Fire & Rescue

• The Chalkboard Kids’ Hero Programs: Tuesdays, June 30 through July 28, 4 :00-4:45pm.

For children ages 5 to 10, this STEAM series (science, technology, engineering, art and math) will reveal some of the science and action behind super-heroes. Registration is required for each individual session. Please sign-up for only one or two programs to allow for more children to participate. This program is also funded by the Mayer family.

June 30: Superman Training—featuring targets and an obstacle course.
July 7: Superman’s Flight—and, weather permitting, solar energy.
July 14: Superpowers
July 21: Turn Turtles into Superheroes
July 28: Brilliance of Batman

• Story Time: Tuesdays, for ages 3 to 5, 10:30-11:00am; Wednesdays, for ages two and under, 10:30-11:00am.
Story Time continues all summer for pre-schoolers. Attendance is limited to the first 40 people who sign in, caregivers included. Sign-up begins at 10:15am.


One-to-One Computer and Device Instruction: Call the Library for individualized instruction in popular computer programs, such as Microsoft Word and Excel, or bring your mobile device to the Library and get started with apps that give library patrons access to free e-books, e-audiobooks, e-music and more.

(All Library programs are free and open to the public. To sign up for events that require pre-registration, call the Library at 914-738-1234.)


The Library will be closed on Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4. Have a happy and safe Independence Day!

A quick reminder to library patrons: Please suspend any holds you have on Library materials while you’re away. It frees up materials for others. If you are unclear about how to suspend a hold, call the Library. Staff can either assist you or suspend a hold for you.

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