Accidental Heroes. True Stories of Ordinary Australians Who Risked Their Lives to Save Others

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To learn more about how we use and protect your data, please see our privacy policy. These women, Wright says, were not household names.

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They were ordinary, they were "birthing and burying" out there in bleak landscapes. Like the hero who rescues the drowning toddler, they just did what was required of them at the time. Wright says the biggest hero she knows is a married Melbourne woman with 13 kids.

All happy, all healthy, all had by choice. Spend an evening with this family and you walk away with a smile on your face that doesn't fade. She is absolutely a hero to me. So who were the heroes to emerge over the past year — the sportspeople, military leaders and movie stars? Or the guy next door, or his daughter? Did the hero of come from the Olympics, from the remarkable US presidential election — or from over the fence?

To David Parker, it's the latter. It's him 41 years ago, minding his own business until something transformative happened. Or it's the everyday people from his films — Malcolm , The Big Steal , Amy — moving towards the extraordinary. Parker still wonders why the woman chose him to rescue her child — there were lots of people around that morning; she didn't need to choose him.

But she did, ignoring others who were closer. I don't know how I would have felt if the boy hadn't made it, but he did. A doctor arrived after the rescue. In the newspaper the next day it was he, not Parker, who was credited with reviving the child. But a hero unpraised is still a hero. Perhaps even more so. Like many ordinary folk thrust into extreme situations, Parker says he just did what was required.

He didn't think about himself, just the kid.

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It says something of the public's appetite and appreciation of ordinary heroism that more than a million votes were cast online to "salute everyday people accomplishing extraordinary things". The winner was a woman who helped hurricane Katrina survivors rebuild their homes. Others nominated were an Ethiopian man who opened free public libraries in his country, a woman who takes homeless men jogging in Philadelphia and a Texan who gives clothes to poor Mexicans just over the border.

In Melbourne, the Dutch backpacker Paul de Waard, who got caught up in the horrific CBD shootings last year and was seriously injured while helping others, was this year commended for his bravery. It's one of the definitions of heroism that there is self-sacrifice. A hero must do something for the greater good and not act out of self-interest.

That's what Ambulance Victoria looks for too, in its Community Hero awards, which recognise the bravery of bystanders who risk their own safety to help someone in strife. The recipients are nominated by paramedics.


Included this year were a tradesman from Lysterfield and a security guard from Oakleigh, who resuscitated an electrician who had received an electric shock. There were two young hikers who helped others struck by a falling tree then ran a kilometre for help, and three young boys from Monbulk who helped at the scene of a BMX accident in which one of their mates, aged 12, died. John Armstrong, of Melbourne University, says acts of local heroism such as these were "put into context" in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, A man called Frank De Martini worked in one of the towers.

When the planes struck, he rounded up three colleagues to search the upper floors of the north tower with just crowbars and torches. They saved Similarly, after hurricane Katrina in , ex-prisoner Jabbar Gibson commandeered a bus and drove poor people from New Orleans to safety in Houston. No one asked him to.

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He wasn't sanctioned or "official". He just did it because he thought it was right.

And Free just wants to play football and forget Texas. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and brave Masha needs an adventure. Now, to earn her place, Masha must pass a series of tricky tests… Russian folklore icon Baba Yaga mentors a lonely teen in a wry graphic novel that balances gleefully between the modern and the timeless. Caillou has finished his bath and is getting ready for bed. Young children can help Caillou by looking under the flaps to find his pajamas, his favourite book and his teddy bear, along with a few surprises! A fun and sturdy book for toddlers. This CD is a celebration of 20 years of making beautiful music for children.

Booklist ( by Genre - Australian stories) : NSW Premier's Reading Challenge

Reid-Naiman has gathered the best of her songs, rhymes, tickles, knee joggles, dances and lullabies for babies and put them together on one classic CD. Lindy has been working hard cleaning and doing odd jobs around the neighbourhood to earn money for a school trip to the Arctic. When an elderly client pays her a larger amount of money than normal, Lindy keeps it to pay the early-bird rate for her trip.

But then a schoolmate learns what she did and starts blackmailing her, forcing Lindy to make a hard choice. This documentary, investigating a perceived threat in the rural Maritimes following a fatal coyote attack, could be used in a high school setting to convey how the expanding human population is encroaching on animal territory. Locals react to the attack by concluding that a new super species is infiltrating their communities: part coyote and part wolf. But is there any truth to this suspicion? From Cleopatra to Coco Chanel and Marlene Dietrich to Madonna, female style rebels have used clothes to shake things up and break the rules.

With an energetic, appealing writing style, Croll demonstrates how through the ages, women — often without other means of power — have used fashion as a tool, and how their influence continues to shape the way women present themselves today. Once there was a bad mood and a stick.

The stick appeared when a tree dropped it. Where did the bad mood come from? Who picked up the stick? And where is the bad mood off to now? You never know what is going to happen… sometimes it takes a bad mood to make everything right! Twelve-year-old Cody loves basketball, but his shaky self-confidence is undermined by a much better-off player who targets him. The newbie seems to take an interest in Cody on the court, but his "helpful" hints are undermining Cody's performance.

To play better, Cody has to come to grips with the bullying, become more self-reliant and take advantage of his skills playing the sport. Bagels are the best thing about Sundays.

Why the world needs heroes, big and small

But their weekly tradition is disrupted when a tumble on his tuches means Zaida is housebound — and bagel-less! Will they all be hungry for bagels on Sunday? Is there something Eli can do? The Bernsteins are heading off on a cruise without the family pets. When Bagels sneaks aboard the ship, Josh and his little sister, Becky, must keep him a secret!

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But then an onboard mystery begins to unfold, involving two potential spies and a mysterious woman with a secret envelope. Can Bagels help crack the case? Look out, Bagels is back! The Bernstein family vacation to Sasquatch Lake is off to a rocky start with no TV and a leaky cabin roof. Josh keeps seeing a hairy figure lurking in the woods, and even Bagels is nervous.