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Children's Author Tells America's Youth To 'Dream Big' By Inspiring The Hero In Every Child

BOULDER, Colo., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- A hero, according to Webster, is "a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability." According to T.A. Barron, leading children's book author, "A hero is any person from any background who can make a positive difference in the world. Young people need to know their power to be heroic." To inspire young people to realize their potential for heroic greatness, Mr. Barron founded the Barron Prize for Young Heroes in 1999.

Every year, the Barron Prize for Young Heroes honors ten young leaders, ages 8 to 18, who have made a significant difference in the lives of others. Recipients of the Barron Prize each receive a cash stipend of $2,500 to be applied to their education or service project.

"As an author I have found great pleasure in writing novels for children about wise and courageous heroes," says T.A. Barron. "As the founder of the Barron Prize for Young Heroes, named for my mother, I find even greater pleasure in turning the spotlight on America's heroic kids. I marvel at the differences that these young heroes are making in positively impacting the lives of others and the environment."

The 2009 recipients of the Barron Prize for Young Heroes include:

Emily Conrad, age 16, of Spartanburg, SC, who founded the "Need to Read Book Club," a group of reading enthusiasts that has raised almost $16,000 in order to buy and distribute over 2,500 new children's books.

Alexander Epstein, age 18, of New York, NY, who founded "New York to New Orleans" (NY2NO), a non-profit group that has organized 15 trips for nearly 500 students from 35 New York City high schools to volunteer in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

Sejal Hathi, age 17, of Fremont, CA, who founded "Girls Helping Girls," a non-profit group that has trained over 5,000 girls in nearly twenty countries in tackling problems such as poverty, education, and health care in their communities.

Otana Jakpor, age 15, of Riverside, CA, whose in-depth research on the harmful amounts of ozone emitted from portable air purifiers has led to a statewide ban of these devices in California.

Jonathan Leung, age 18, of Wynnewood, PA, who created "Helping Hunger," a student-driven organization that "rescues" food from caterers and restaurants and transports it to soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

Becca Robison, age 18, of Layton, UT, who created "AstroTots Space Camp for Little Dippers," a free science camp for disadvantaged girls that is now offered in cities across the U.S.

Adarsha Shivakumar, age 15, and Apoorva Rangan, age 14, of Pleasant Hill, CA, who co-founded "Project Jatropha" to promote the use of the Jatropha plant as an eco-friendly and economically sustainable source of biofuel in rural India.

Rachel Siegel, age 14, of Dallas, TX, who has written a book profiling non-Jews who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Through sales of her book, she has raised $13,000 to help support elderly non-Jewish rescuers, most of whom are living in anonymity in Europe.

Katie Stagliano, age 10, of Summerville, SC, who has rallied hundreds of community members to assist in the creation of several large-scale vegetable gardens to help feed the hungry.

Sujay Tyle, age 15, of Pittsford, NY, who has invented a technique using genetically-modified bacteria to convert waste into ethanol at a fraction of its current cost. Sujay has also founded "Big Hearted with Style," a non-profit organization that provides sight-saving eye surgeries for disadvantaged children in Southern Asia.

The winners of the Young Heroes Award, both past and present, represent the great diversity of America. They are female and male, urban and rural, and from varied backgrounds. The Barron Prize for Young Heroes is in association with National Geographic Education Foundation; the Jane Goodall Institute; Youth Service America; and Student Conservation Association. For more information on Young Heroes, visit the Web site at or

SOURCE Barron Prize for Young Heroes
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