• Christina Aguilera became famous at a very young age after coming in second on a nationally televised episode of Star Search, being a member of the Disney TV series Mickey Mouse Club, and singing the song “Reflection” in the Disney animated movie Mulan. Unfortunately, her schoolmates were jealous of her success. After her second-place finish on Star Search, someone slashed the tires on her mother’s car. Immediately, young Christina transferred to another school. In addition, after newspapers began to print articles about her after she joined the Mickey Mouse Club, her new schoolmates resented her success. Fortunately, the resentment of schoolmates was countered by the love of her fans, who started writing her letters, all of which she attempted to answer. After her debut album, Christina Aguilera, became a huge success, some young fans who had just bought her record recognized her and bought a disposable camera so they could take her photograph. This kind of attention didn’t bother Christina. She said, “I know some people hate that, but not me. I’ve been waiting for this moment for my entire life.”
• Matthew Dunn is the son of David Dunn, who is English, Scottish, and Irish Canadian, and of Morningstar Mercredi, who is Métis (a mixture of French and Native American), Denedeh (a Native American tribe also known as Chipewyan), and Cree (another Native American tribe). When Matthew was three years old, his parents divorced, but they found a unique way for both of them to keep Matthew in their lives. He spends one year with his father in Watrous, Saskatchewan, Canada, then he spends the following year with his mother in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. By spending alternate years with each parent, Matthew can remain close to each of them. A disadvantage of the arrangement is that Matthew changes schools each year, but an advantage is that he can travel and learn about the cultures of which he is a part. By the way, Matthew has an additional name, courtesy of his Native American heritage. When he was 10 years old, he received the name Sus Nakáhdul in a naming ceremony. His Native American name means “Bear Walker.”
• Nancy and Rip Talavera used to receive telephone calls each night from the woman who lived in the apartment underneath theirs; she wanted them to tell their daughter to stop jumping in bed so loudly. Nancy and Rip would then check on their daughters. Four-year-old Coral would be sound asleep in her bed, but one-and-a-half-year-old Tracee was jumping in her crib. As you would expect, Tracee grew up to be a gymnast. When she was still very young, she took an acrobatics class and performed in a show while wearing a Mickey Mouse mask. Unfortunately, the mask moved, and she was unable to see out of the eyeholes. She still did the tricks, but she smashed into the back wall, bending one mouse ear. In 1984, Tracee won a silver team medal at the Olympic Games.
• Ezra Jack Keats, author/illustrator of such children’s books as The Snowy Day and The Little Drummer Boy, drew everything he came across when he was a child. One day, he decorated his family’s kitchen table with drawings of houses and people. His mother walked into the kitchen, and although he expected to be bawled out for his artwork, she told him, “Did you do that? Isn’t it wonderful!” His father, however, worried that being an artist would be a difficult way to make a living, so he wanted his son to do other things, such as play ball. However, when his father realized that Ezra Jack had real talent, he took him on an outing to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, thus showing that he was proud of his son and his son’s talent for art.
• As a child, Trina Schart Hyman, an illustrator of children’s books, played at being Little Red Riding Hood. Her mother made her a red satin cape with a hood, and whenever little Trina wore the cape and hood, which was almost every day, her mother also made her a basket of goodies. The path to Grandma’s house was in the backyard, her dog was the wolf, and her father was the woodsman who saved Little Red Riding Hood. In her autobiography, Self-Portrait: Trina Schart Hyman, Ms. Hyman wrote, “I was Red Riding Hood for a year or more. I think it’s a great tribute to my mother that she never gave up and took me to a psychiatrist, and if she ever worried, she never let me know.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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