Emily Dickinson



The nineteenth century American poet, Emily Dickinson led a reclusive life, but left a legacy of poetry that lifts the spirit.  Hope, joy, and wonder are among her many themes. 


Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.



Exultation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea,
Past the houses -- past the headlands --
Into deep Eternity --

Bred as we, among the mountains,
Can the sailor understand
The divine intoxication
Of the first league out from land?




A Drop fell on the Apple Tree - Another - on the Roof - A Half a Dozen kissed the Eaves - And made the Gables laugh -

A few went out to help the Brook
That went to help the Sea -
Myself Conjectured 
were they Pearls - What Necklaces could be.



Each month on the Core Virtues website, we feature the life of a hero or heroine – men and women who have tirelessly pursued excellence in their lives and helped improve the lives of others. We tie each month’s biography to the virtue of the month or to a theme suggested by the particular time of the year.


Hope, Wonder and Joy

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)Eleanor

Eleanor Roosevelt was no starry-eyed optimist, but the virtue of hope and an ethos of courage ruled her life.  “Do  one thing every day that scares you,” was her advice to the timid. Though she was born into a world of wealth and privilege, little Eleanor was shy and painfully conscious of “my lack of beauty.”  She compensated for her shortcomings through diligent study, a keen interest in the life of her nation, and an eager will to be useful by improving the lot of the less fortunate.  Eleanor was initially thrust into public life when she married Franklin Delano Roosevelt (first governor of New York and then President of the United States).  As First Lady, she championed working women, wrote a weekly column advocating for the neglected, and after her husband’s death chaired the U.N. Committee that drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  She maintained a steadfast hope in the future and in the progress of her nation’s ideals.  Two splendid books for children chronicle the life of this witness to hope.  The first is a stunningly illustrated biography for young children, and the second, a nuanced, warmly told portrayal of this extraordinary woman.




Eleanor, Quiet No More.  Doreen Rappaport.
Illustrated by Gary Kelley.  Hyperion Books, 2009. (K-3)






Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery. Russell Freedman.  
Sandpiper, 1997.  (4-6)