Reviews for They Call Me a Hero : A Memoir of My Youth

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
From campaign volunteer to twenty-one-year-old school board member, Hernandez is passionate about public service. His passion led him to be in a position to help Congresswoman Giffords as she fought for her life after the 2011 Tucson, Arizona, shooting. In this memoir Hernandez recounts--in rather flat language--who he was leading up to that day and how he has moved forward. Concurrently published in Spanish. Bib.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #1
The young political intern who provided first aid to Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords after her shooting, likely saving her life, steps forward to tell his story. This account--written by Rubin, but based on lengthy interviews and cast in Hernandez's first person--hits all the right notes. Insisting that he's not as heroic as people who devote their entire lives to public service (though he vows to do just that), Hernandez describes the attack and immediate aftermath in sharp detail. He then goes on to chronicle the next six months of memorial and other ceremonies, meetings with President Barack Obama and speeches and news interviews by the hundreds as his background and personal details (he is a gay Latino) draw widespread public attention. He rounds out the narrative with snapshots (both textual and visual) of his south Tucson childhood, schooling and experiences in local campaigns, both for others and for himself (running and losing for university student-body president, running and winning for his school board). Throughout, he comes across as self-assured but not full of himself, conscious of but not obsessed with his image and his status as a multiple role model, opinionated but not angry or preachy. An absorbing eyewitness view of a shocking event wrapped in a fluent, engaging self-portrait. (bibliography) (Memoir. 11-15) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #2

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.)¦

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 June

Gr 7 Up--Hernandez, an ambitious intern for Gabby Giffords, was the first to reach her when she was shot on January 8, 2011. Having had some medical training as a phlebotomist, he knew to elevate her head and put pressure on her wounds until the paramedics arrived. He then rode with her in the ambulance and called her friends to report the shooting. Hernandez recounts his life as a gay Hispanic man growing up in the Arizona school system. He loved school and learned English quickly once the bilingual program was banned. A driven kid, he was bullied in middle school for being so focused on his schoolwork and for his large size. In high school, he took courses to be a nursing assistant and phlebotomist and campaigned for Hillary Rodham Clinton. After graduating, Hernandez attended the University of Arizona, had a job as a phlebotomist during the day and began working as an intern for Giffords in the evenings. His memoir is clear and organized, if a bit boring when he describes his focused early life. The heroic young man's story will be appreciated by politically minded youths as well as those looking for a role model.--Kathy Lyday, South Caldwell High School, NC

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