by Shayna from Pickerington

The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin
The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin

Definition: To me, a hero is someone who sacrifices and protects. They not only inspire you to reach your maximum potential, but motivate you to do so. A hero invests in your life, whether directly in in-directly (a family member/ friend vs a celebrity or president). Heroes are driven and determined, setting an example for everyone around them.

Opinion: I think it's very important to have a hero. When you look up to someone, they inspire you to both do and be a better person. We all need guidance and motivation, no matter how old, successful, or well off you may be.

A character as a hero: In the book,there were two people who did some pretty heroic things, Jimmi Sixes and Fatima. On page 55, we saw how important getting her sister safely to America was to Fatima. She was constantly saving money so they could be reunited. That exemplifies love, selflessness and sacrifice. Jimmi too though, risked a lot. More specifically, he risked his entire life! Saving Mik was more important than the possibility of getting stabbed. "Shanelle was fast with her cutter, but Jimmi's hands were faster" (Griffin, 155). Soon after, Fatima followed the whole "saving lives" theme. Not only did she put her own life on the line, but she also gave up her opportunity to live in America, free from African troubles. She did all this to save Jimmi Sixes. "Move or die," the gangbanger said. "But Fatima stood firm" (Griffin, 131).

Hall of fame: Though Jimmi and Fatima both showed major heroic characteristics, Fatima was thorough throughout the entire book. Displaying things such as sacrifice, humility, love for people, thankfulness, longing to make others happy, and overwhelming joy, it was clear she was a true hero. She risked her life more than once, knowing she would be forced to leave her new found freedom if she protected Jimmi. But she did it anyways, convinced his life was more important than her wants and dreams.

Who's your hero's hero?

1. Who is your hero and why? - "My sister. In the camps in Africa, we dreamed of going to the states. I never imagined we would actually be able to go. After years of saving money, we finally raised enough to get a ticket, but only one. I knew how often she pictured her life of freedom, but she insisted I go. I will never be able to thank her enough for the experiences I had in the Bronx."

2. What do you think makes a hero? - "Well my sister is my hero for many reasons, but one of the main ones was what I mentioned earlier, her sacrifice. That is key in a hero. Whether they're sacrificing to make a better life for themselves, or for others, it's a necessary characteristic for me."

3. Why is it important to have a hero? - "I believe a hero is someone you admire and look up to. They're inspirational. But in Africa a lot of the kids in the camps didn't have anyone to look up to. We all had to fend for ourselves just to make it through the night. They had no dreams aside from surviving. No one they knew was accomplishing great things, and I don't think most of them know what a hero is. So I'm not sure that everyone needs to have one. It would be great if they all did, but sometimes the conditions of life don't allow role models/heroes."

4. Can you have multiple heroes? - "Yes, absolutely. If you have more than one person investing in your life, your dreams, and your purpose, then they are probably heroic to you. No one ever said you must have one hero, just as you can have more than one friend."

5. Do you think many heroes go unnoticed? -"Yes. Heroes don't draw attention to themselves, in my opinion. They go about their daily lives, hidden to the world but very important to specific people. They are more than just celebrities or talk show hosts, they're average, day to day people (at least to the naked eye)."

6. What are three things heroes don't do? -"I think I just mentioned a big one. Heroes don't draw attention to themselves. In my opinion they don't tear others down or lack vision."

7. Do you think it's important to be a hero or a role model? - "Of course. I think it's very important!"

8. Why so? -"Back to the camps again. I mentioned most of the kids there didn't have heroes or people to look up to. My sister and I tried to be the best examples we could. We spoke hope into the children's lives, saying that when the war is over they will do great things. We encouraged them to dream big, and at night they were so captivated in their goals and desires they slept right through the gun shots. It was what kept them going a lot of the time."

9. Is being admired and looked up to rewarding? - "I think being a part of others lives in general is rewarding. But when someone you care about lets you know that they admire you, and long to be like you, it's the most humbling and priceless feeling you can imagine."

10. Do you agree with the statement heroes live long after they're gone? - "Definitely. I think the impact you make affects how long you will be remembered. Everything you were about should live on until all the lives you've touched are gone. I guess it all depends on how in depth you were with your investment into the lives of others."

Page created on 4/7/2011 2:14:20 PM

Last edited 4/7/2011 2:14:20 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

- Fatima was so brave when she left Africa, lived by herself at 16, and stood up to save Jimmi's life.


Griffin, Paul. The Orange Houses. New York, NY: The Penguin Group, 2009.


Author Info

The Orange Houses, a story of sacrifice, love, compassion, and friendship. Fatima has befriended a girl who tried her hardest to push the world away, to silence everything. But there are some things you can't avoid, true compassion, love, and the desire to help. I'm Shayna Fowler and my goal is to take a better look at the heroism displayed by Paul Griffin's character, Fatima.