In response to Elizabeth Kastor's query, "Whatever Happened to the Hero?" {Style, June 20}, I'd like her to know that my 7th-grade students, who have read the likes of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Lloyd Alexander, have no trouble identifying one.

Through the books of these authors, they know that a hero does not have to be a leader, a warrior or an international figure. A hero can also be a boy or a girl, a pig keeper or even a middle-aged hobbit. To be heroic, one doesn't have to be trained to fight or to lead but, in the time of great need, to respond to the call for action and to have the heart and the wit to see the problem through to the end, regardless of obstacles or consequences.

We do not know who our heroes are anymore because we look in the wrong places. As C. S. Lewis noted in "The Silver Chair": "The Signs which you have learned will not look at all as you expect them to look. ... "

Heroes live quietly among us; we just haven't figured out how to spot them.