Family Life


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Book Review: They Stood Alone!

It was dark when you went to bed last night, and clear enough to see the stars.

And after looking at them awhile, you got into bed, your homework finished. You grabbed a book to read before you went to sleep, a book about travel because you’re hoping for a getaway this summer, maybe to a ball game or a museum.

Product book they stood alone - book review: they stood alone!And every one of those things you did last night might’ve been less enjoyable if someone hadn’t changed the way things were done. In the new book “They Stood Alone!” by Sandra McLeod Humphrey, you’ll learn more…

As a kid, you’re filled with ideas – some good, some not-so-good. You like to look at the world a little differently, to see how you can make things better. But sometimes, people give you a hard time about your thoughts.

Don’t you just hate that?

In this book, you’ll see that you’re not alone. Over the centuries, Big Thinkers have been teased for their ideas, too. But just imagine how surprised others were when those thoughts were proven correct.

Take, for instance, a little boy named Leo. When he was a kid, Leo was told that he couldn’t get an education because his parents weren’t married, but that didn’t stop him from doing great things. Leonardo da Vinci went on to be a painter, sculptor, and scientist.

Or, imagine for a minute that you’re a slave girl known as Minty. All day long, you work hard for your master and mistress but if you don’t to things right, you get whipped. You start to think about escaping and once you do, you can’t stop thinking about helping others escape, too. And that’s why Minty – better known as Harriet Tubman – made nineteen trips to help hundreds of slaves escape North to safety.

And the next time you turn on your radio, think of a guy named Nick. As a young man, he was hired by an inventor who promptly said that Nick’s great idea was “nonsense.”  But you’ll be glad that Nicola Tesla didn’t listen because he grew up to influence the creation of radar, computers, robotics, and more.

“They Stood Alone!” is a really good, informative book. It’s filled with inspiration and encouragement for kids that others might call nerdy. I liked this book.  I really did, but I’m not sure the average kid will.

At a time when pre-teens are immersing themselves in manga and drama-novels, this book lives up to its name: it stands alone. Author Sandra McLeod Humphrey filled it with easy-to-understand, relevant biographies of 25 people who changed the world with their ideas and ideals, and each story is better than the last. I liked that Humphrey places these bios in context with the lives of today’s readers, which kids will enjoy.

The problem is in convincing too-cool-for-school 9-to-14-year-olds of that.

I think this is a great book, but it’s going to take a certain kind of reader to completely appreciate it. For that kid, though, “They Stood Alone!” gets a gold star.

Written by Sandra McLeod Humphrey

c.2011, Prometheus Books, $14.00 / $16.50 Canada, 176 pages

a man carrying two children

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