You Can Change the World

Penguin/Rocky Pond. (Ordinary People Change the World). Mar. 2024. 48p. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9780593700464.
PreS-Gr 2–Influential figures featured in the popular “Ordinary People Change the World” series deliver motivational words in this volume, which essentially serves as a highlights reel of quotes and artwork from the individual biographies. An introduction encouraging young readers to become future heroes is followed by trailblazers such as Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo, and Billie Jean King, accompanied by vague platitudes rather than details about their achievements. For example, and in an especially puzzling profile, the spread on Sacagawea proclaims, “Wherever you go in life—whatever mountains you climb and challenges you face, find your own way. Make your own path. Shatter expectations. Blaze your own trail.” The messaging is upbeat, but without context about Sacagawea’s life and contributions, what does any of this mean to readers? Eliopolous’s friendly, cartoonish illustrations bolster the visual appeal, and the roster of famous figures is thoughtfully diverse, but the text ultimately lacks substance.
VERDICT An additional purchase for children’s nonfiction collections.

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