Heroes—they are bigger than life and as real as our neighbors. They champion everything we believe to be right in this world and they do it so that we can keep on believing. Heroes are a wonderful thing.
And then there are the heroes that aren’t real, and bigger than life is far too modest. They dress in costumes every color of the rainbow, their muscles bulging, and justice burning warm in their hearts—a cape is a nice touch. They too inspire, albeit from a pedestal built upon blocks of greatness and imagination, and they too encourage us to be better versions of ourselves.
So it was that my family was seated in the blazing sun of a hot weekend at the Los Angeles Festival of Books, watching fantasy step from page to stage, and enjoying a story as read aloud by the Justice League.
Yes, this happened:
My boys, and an endless sea of other children, were captivated. They hung on every word from Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Batman, that’s right, Batman, as they spun a tale of Atlantis, dining with Aquaman, and saving yet another day.
Their intent was to glorify reading and also sell books. The result was an afternoon of building blocks packed full with the aforementioned greatness and imagination.
“Daddy,” said my youngest son. “I thought Flash would read faster.”
“He probably had to slow it down for the rest of us,” I answered.
“Look,” he said. “Batman is going to have dinner with Aquaman, just like in the story!”
The boys had just put the finishing touches on the Arctic Batman Vs. Mr. Freeze LEGO set, which came with an Aquaman figure, and he sat them all down to share a meal.
“Why is Mr. Freeze there?” I asked. “Isn’t he a bad guy?’
“Bad guys get hungry, too.”
“Look, Daddy!” said my oldest, bursting with excitement. “It’s Bane’s tumbler. He wants to have a cool car like Batman’s.”
We had seen Batman’s cool car earlier at the festival, and it had made an impression.
“I know this isn’t Batman’s tumbler, but can I pretend that it is?”
The Bat vs. Bane: Tumbler Chase LEGO set had provided Batman an awesome airship, but who am I to argue with imagination?
“Of course you can,” I said. “He’s Batman, he can do anything.”
“Even read,” said the youngest.
“That was nice of him to do that,” said the oldest, and then he turned his blocks across the tile and he tumbled away.
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).
All photos by Whit Honea except LEGO sets provided by LEGO. The LEGO sets mentioned above were provided by LEGO. All opinions, including some I didn’t mention about Batman’s outfit at the Festival of Books, are my own.