How to Change the World
Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Annabel Tempest
In her follow up to How to be Extraordinary, Rashmi Sirdeshpande presents a companion book in which she shows what a large impact can be made by people working together. There are fifteen stories of teamwork that start way back in sixth century BCE Athens with the origins of the very first democracy and is followed by a look at the incredible human engineering collaboration involved in the building of the Great Pyramid in the desert of ancient Egypt.
Then come the campaigns for change – well known and less so – in various parts of the world. Thus among environmental campaigners we have not only the universally known Greenpeace and the Montreal Protocol banning CFCs, but also the Treeplanters of Piplantri that I know of only because a friend took me to visit the village in Rajasthan a few years back. (Every time a girl is born 111 trees are planted in honour of the chief’s daughter who died during a drought around fifteen years ago).
Then, as well as the Montgomery Bus Boycott triggered by Rosa Parks’ action, there is the Singing Revolution in Estonia where people used song to tell the world that this small country had always been a free nation.
Following the spread about the abolition of slavery campaign in the British Empire is one about the 1965 Freedom Ride campaigning for justice for the indigenous people of Australia.
Alluringly illustrated by Annabel Tempest and attractively laid out, each spread with its well-written text offers an example of high quality narrative non-fiction for primary readers.
The same is true of
‘The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it’. Robert Swan’s quote at the beginning of this book is a powerful reminder that the terrible effects of climate change can only be arrested through our individual and collective actions.
Award winning writer Ben Lerwill presents twenty five inspiring and fascinating stories of individuals (and some groups) who have worked tirelessly and continue to do so for the causes in which they believe so passionately.
Among those featured are Dr Jane Goodall (who wrote the book’s introduction), Sir David Attenborough, the Greenpeace founders, Rachel Carson and Greta Thunberg. Alongside those are accounts of less famous names – The Guajajara Guardians –
who often risk their lives while working to protect the Amazon Rainforest; and William Kamkwamba who built a windmill in a small village in Malawi and went on to build more that pump water to the crops in the fields, thus improving the life of his entire community through renewable energy.
Not only is this book a powerful call to action; it’s also a reminder that we need to stand together – there might just be time to make those crucial changes to the climate change story.
Compellingly written in a lively style and illustrated by Masha Ukhova, Stephanie Son, Chellie Carroll, Hannah Peck and Iratxe Lopez de Munain, this book is strongly recommended for home and school reading.