As in his other photographic history books (Abraham Lincoln being the most well known to me), in We Will Not Be Silent, Russell Freedman tells a true story with the added addition of photographs to give the characters life. In this case, he shares about the brave students in Germany who stood up to Hitler, Hans and Sophie Scholl. The Scholl children published anti-Nazi brochures and worked to spread the understanding of the danger of Hitler’s policies. Ultimately, they paid for their bravery with their lives.Continue Reading
Kids Who Are Changing the World by Anne Jankeliowitch (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, September 2014) is an inspiring volume of brief biographies of young children from around the world who took action to fight for ecological awareness. The author shares how each child was inspired, what he or she did as a result, and the end result of their action, including what they currently are doing to promote awareness and make a difference.
Some of the children used their talents to promote ecological awareness. Some painters sent artwork to those who donated to a cause. Others made music videos that have made a difference by raising awareness world wide to those who see the video. Others began locally in planting trees or inspiring recycling or petitioning to ban plastic water bottles at their schools. These small movements became larger as their cause spread throughout their towns, countries, and (now) the world.
It’s amazing to me to see what very young children can accomplish when they are determined to do so. I appreciated the note along with most of the biographies in which they acknowledged the roles their parents played in helping them be successful. I do think it is important to encourage our children to make a difference in what they see as important, and parental support was obviously a big part of helping these kids meet their dreams for “changing the world.”
If I have one complaint it is that the gorgeous photographs of places around the world did not always match the locality that the children’s biographies described. For example, a child worked to plant trees and discourage deforestation in Africa, and the photograph showed the rain forest in Brazil. This is a small matter, however. The photographer, Yan Arthus-Bertrand, President of the GoodPlanet Foundation which emphasizes children’s education of these ecological matters, has ecological awareness at heart. The photographs selected simply emphasize the need for ecological awareness and delight at the beautiful world we all live in.
Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink is a 1930s Newbery Award Winner, based on the experiences of the author’s own grandmother. Caddie is a creative and active 11 year old, resistant to the demands her nineteenth century culture demands of her because she is a girl. In this fictionalized volume of adventures, Caddie’s fun occasionally brings her in to danger, although her courageous spirit refuses to worry.
Although her stories are fun ones, it is does not capture my heart in the ways Laura Ingalls’s adventures do, and it does not provide the ultimate growth at the end of the book that gives satisfaction. Caddie has supposedly embraced some of her roll as a girl in her culture, but I am not convinced. Continue Reading
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafsai (Little, Brown and Company, 2013) is a powerful story of a girl’s courage to stand up against wrong and demand an education in the Taliban-controlled regions of Pakistan. The work done by Malala, who still is a teenager, is so remarkable that she became the youngest receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. Her first-person account of her life is an engaging and inspiring read for all who desire courage to stand for what they know to be right.Continue Reading