They Call Me a Hero

A Memoir of My Youth

They Call Me a Hero

For Ages: 12 and up
Daniel Hernandez helped save the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and his life experience is a source of true inspiration in this heartfelt memoir, “an absorbing eyewitness view of a shocking event wrapped in a fluent, engaging self-portrait” (Kirkus Reviews).

“I don’t consider myself a hero,” says Daniel Hernandez. “I did what I thought anyone should have done. Heroes are people who spend a lifetime committed to helping others.”

When Daniel Hernandez was twenty years old, he was working as an intern for US Representative Gabrielle Giffords. On January 8, 2011, during a “Congress on Your Corner” event, Giffords was shot. Daniel Hernandez’s quick thinking before the paramedics arrived and took Giffords to the hospital saved her life. Hernandez’s bravery and heroism has been noted by many, including President Barack Obama.

But while that may have been his most well-known moment in the spotlight, Daniel Hernandez, Jr., is a remarkable individual who has already accomplished much in his young life, and is working to achieve much more. They Call Me a Hero explores Daniel’s life, his character, and the traits that a young person needs to rise above adversity and become a hero like Daniel.

“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” (Publishers Weekly).
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442462359 | 
  • February 2014 | 
  • Grades 7 and up | 
  • Lexile ® 930L
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

They Call Me a Hero: A Memoir of My Youth
By Daniel Hernandez with Susan Goldman Rubin


About the Book

Twenty-year-old Daniel Hernandez is an intern working in U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords’s office when she and several others are shot at a constituent event on January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona. In his memoir, Hernandez describes the events that happened that day and the aftermath. He narrates his personal experiences growing up that led him to a career in public service and his passion for wanting to help people in turmoil.

Prereading Questions

1. Discuss the characteristics of a hero.

2. What makes some individuals jump to the aid of those facing danger, while others do not?

Questions for Discussion

1. Daniel Hernandez is a twenty-year-old intern working for Gabby Giffords on the day that she is shot in Arizona. How did he come to meet Gabby Giffords? What impressed him about her?

2. Describe the morning of the shooting. How does Daniel recall the events of that morning?

3. On the day of the shooting rampage, how did Daniel come to the aid of Gabby Giffords and other victims that day?

4. Why does Daniel contact Steve and Kelly Farley?

5. Daniel does not perceive himself as a hero. Why does he have this perspective? How does he define see more

More Books from this Author

Me llaman héroe (They Call Me a Hero)

About the Author

Daniel Hernandez
Photograph courtesy of author

Daniel Hernandez

Daniel Hernandez is a 2012 graduate of the University of Arizona who is credited with having saved the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords during the shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8, 2011, when he was an intern assisting the congresswoman with a constitutional event. He served as a member of the City of Tucson Commission on LGBT Issues, and is currently on the governing board of the Sunnyside Unified School District, where he attended public schools. He is dedicated to education advocacy and civic engagement. He is the author of They Call Me a Hero. Visit him at DanielHernandezJr.org.

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