Who Did It First? 50 Politicians, Activists, and Entrepreneurs Who Revolutionized the World

Holt. (Who Did It First?). Feb. 2020. 128p. ed. by ed. by Alex Hart. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250211729.
Gr 4-6–This colorfully illustrated book spotlights 50 politicians, activists, and entrepreneurs who changed the world with their forward thinking, despite pushback. The text includes Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States, and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, the first person to establish a permanent school for the deaf in North America, among others. Each biography contains a broad overview of the person’s life, including their background and how their actions made the world a better place. Even though descriptions are brief, readers are left with a better sense of who the person was, and his or her impact. The text encourages further discussions and exploration. An easy-to-read time line is located at the back of the book. Resources for further exploration are also featured. Biographies mention activists from different demographics (women, people of color, the LGBTQIA community, and people with disabilities). Although this book is intended for an upper elementary audience, it could be used as a starting point for middle schoolers. The descriptions are accessible and reader friendly, making for a quick-paced yet informative book.
VERDICT A welcome addition to middle grade nonfiction shelves, as readers are likely to encounter important figures they may not have known before.

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