Clearing out her bedroom over the summer holidays, my younger daughter (who’s 11 and who has already provided blog post material when she spoke about having a working mum) unearthed an album cover-sized square of card with images of people on it. It turns out that, together with the rest of her primary school class, she was asked to create a version of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Clubs Band album cover, pulling together her own icons and heroes. There’s a small section of it pictured above.
She’s not as keen on reading as her older sister, so I was interested to see that there were four authors (out of 33 people) on it:
P G Wodehouse
J K Rowling
However, there were 13 musicians (including Benjamin Britten, Barbara Streisand, Freddy Mercury, Aretha Franklin and Adele), five politicians and leaders (including Aung San Suu Kyi and Winston Churchill), and four actors as well as a pretty eclectic bunch of others: Sandro Botticelli, Steve Jobs and (representing scientists, apparently) Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory were all there too.
I recognise that there isn’t a direct link between celebrities and icons and children’s career apirations, but I seem to remember that, at the height of the popularity of Harry Potter and inspired by the success and celebrity of J K Rowling, there was an increase in the number of children aspiring to be authors. A survey done three years ago (and reported here in The Telegraph) suggests that authors don’t make it into the top ten careers that children say they would like to pursue when they grow up.
Who are your children’s heroes and icons?