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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Twenty-Five Heroes for Young Adults

Title: They Stood Alone!: 25 Men and WomenWho Made a Difference
Author: Sandra McLeod Humphrey
Author's Website:
Genre/Category: M-G/YA Nonfiction
ISBN: 9781616144852

Reviewed by Grady Harp, Amazon Top 10 Reviewer
Originally for Amazon. Rating: 5 Stars

Hats off to Sandra McLeod Humphrey for synthesizing the lives of famous people in a book that can be enjoyed and stimulate the minds of her intended audience of 9 to 12 year olds. In her introduction she states the reasons for her choices of role models: 'They were people of vision who saw life form a different or a new perspective; they were pioneers of a sort who were willing to question the conventional wisdom of their time; they had the courage to step out away from the crowd and take a risk; they believed in themselves and pursued their dreams i spite of societal opposition; and their revolutionary breakthroughs changed their world and ours.'

What follows is a series of minibiographies of 25 men and women who fill the qualifications Humphrey has established. Each biography begins with a photograph (or other image) of the person, a quote form them, and then the information begins with 'Imagine this:' and what follows is a brief setting of the background of the person presented and a superb brief description of the discovery or change that person made for the world. All of this is offered in a very readable and erudite manner, fit not only for younger readers but for any reader at all!

The people she discusses are Christopher Columbus, Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Elizabeth Blackwell, Nikola Testa, Booker T. Washington, Marie Curie, Mahatma Gandhi, Orville Wright, Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart, Margaret Mead, Marian Anderson, Margaret Bourke-White, Rachel Carson, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and Neil Armstrong. And after this excellent survey of just some of the important minds of our history and our time Humphrey address the reader with the challenge to believe in yourself and to overcome obstacles to follow your dream. Included at the end of the book is an excellent bibliography - surely a fine resource for all teachers - and a source of her notes. And as a final gesture she has re-printed the Robert Frost poem 'The Road Not Taken.' This is a terrific book, as strong a 'behavior modification' substitute for aimless youngsters who think they have nothing to offer the world as anything published. Parents may want to borrow this book to refresh their memories about the Heroes lives, too.


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Man of la Book said...

I used to love these kind of books as a young man. Now I'm trying (TRYING) to get my kids to live them as well.

Shannon @ Reading Has Purpose said...

I've read Booker T Washington's book and it was a great autobiography. I will have to check out some of the others on this list.