As I am typing this it’s Thursday night, which means Favorite Book Friday is due to be posted tomorrow. I have known for several weeks what book I was going to write about for this particular installment, and I kept telling myself it would take no time to write since I had already done most of the work in my head.
Then I went and took a shower.
I am a shower philosopher. I use that brief moment of alone time (well, maybe alone) to do some pretty deep thinking. Ideas and thoughts randomly pop into my head. At times I have completely made-up, not-likely-to-ever-happen conversations with people, should there be some potential conflict or crisis I might be facing. It’s where I plan my life and do my major problem solving.
While I was rinsing off, the idea to change this week’s Favorite Book Friday nudged its way into my brain. I’m going to go with it.
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This change all started earlier in the day. I received a book in the mail that I’ve had on my list for a while--The Kid Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews (cool name). Our family has read it before. We borrowed it from the library about three years ago, and I’ve remembered it since then. When we borrowed it, it had a different title—The Boy Who Changed the World. I guess the powers that be wanted to appeal to or inspire a broader range of kids.
The book consists of a set of smaller stories about kids who grew up to make a major impact on the world, and the stories show how the children’s early years affect their adulthood. As you read, there is a bit of a twist in realizing all of these people are connected, with one having a great influence upon the other. What’s more, the stories and the people talked about in the book are real. Their great contributions to the world and their lasting impacts are real. (For the sake of not spoiling the whole book, I won’t tell you who the people are.) It’s a book designed to show children how one person can make a difference. I know that sounds cliché, but I wholeheartedly believe it’s true.
Little Mama was too young to understand the book when we first read it. However, The Boy was just old enough to put the pieces together, and I remember watching him make those connections. He enjoyed the twist and smiled when he figured it all out. I am looking forward to reading this to Little Mama now that she’s older and watching that all over again.
As I mentioned this is a book I have wanted in our personal library for a while. I was pretty excited when it came today. As I was perusing it, my mind wandered to a cooperative class I am teaching next week.
Once a month, I teach middle and high schoolers a history/geography/literature combo class for two and a half hours. Each session covers a different period of American history. Next week we are wrapping up part two of the Civil War. The time period covered in The Kid Who Changed the World ranges from pre- to post-Civil War. Furthermore, I find the book to be a great way to show kids how one person can influence another and another until the entire world is affected. It relays that every individual person is important. Most importantly, it shows the value and reward in ideas, effort, and service.
Perhaps I’m becoming an old grouch, but I feel like a lot of kids today are pretty selfish and are more concerned with being popular than helping their fellow man or contributing something of value to the world. They don’t seem to give thought to their future and what direction their life will take. I don’t mean the kids in my co-op class specifically. They’re a good group of kids, but these things are nonetheless on my mind. I know these kids personally and I want them to be productive and excel.
So, next week I am going to read tweens and teenagers a picture book. I have said before a good picture book can be enjoyed by all and teach some important lessons, and now I’m going to prove it. I’m not naïvely thinking this singular book is going to change their lives, but I’m hoping it will teach them a bit of history, start a conversation about our importance as individuals and not wasting our opportunities, and maybe sit in their mind as a bit of encouragement to any dreams they may have floating around in there.
I’ll try to update this article soon and let you know how it goes after next week’s class and let you know what Little Mama thought of the book.
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments!
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