They Call Me a Hero: A Memoir of My Youth

Daniel Hernandez with Susan Goldman Rubin. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4424-6228-1
Hernandez, who was a 20-year-old intern for U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot by a gunman in January 2011, was thrust into the media spotlight and praised for his actions during the assault. His tense, moment-by-moment recounting of the shooting spree is gripping; from there, Hernandez, working with Rubin (Music Was IT), describes the ensuing torrent of media interviews, then backtracks to provide a detailed account of his school years, when he mastered English, thrived academically, and resisted peer pressure despite bullying over his size, sexuality, and Mexican-American background. Throughout, Hernandez strikes a tone that is humble, earnest, and impassioned (“I felt shy about accepting the title of ‘hero,’ but I was beginning to learn how to take the compliments,” he writes), and his story is inspiring not only for his bravery during the shooting, but also for his commitment to education advocacy and public service, including his appointment to Tucson’s Commission on LGBT issues and election to the local school board. Photos of Hernandez with family, friends, colleagues, and political figures are included. Ages 12–up. Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Feb.)■
Reviewed on: 12/10/2012
Release date: 02/05/2013
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