Reviews /

Boys Who Made a Difference

Authored by Michelle Roehm McCann
Published by Simon and Schuster

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As educators, we often talk about the importance of role models for young people. While social media has so many positive sides in terms of networking, sharing ideas and finding out more about people, the downside is it is difficult for young people to filter their role models. Youtubers are a-plenty and being able to identify and learn about people who are having a significant impact on our world is challenging. That is where this brilliant book by Michelle Roehm McCann steps in. A long-awaited chronicle of boys who have made a difference to the world we live in.

Each chapter takes a famous male in history, provides a quote about them then starts with a critical point in their life: for example, Bob Dylan’s first talent show with ‘The Golden Chords’ or Rolihlahla (Nelson Mandela’s) coming of age ceremony (the moment that he realised he wanted to help his people fight for equality). Part of the beauty of this book is the diversity. The men come from all over the world and from every walk of life, Vidal Sassoon to Pele, the Dalai Lama to Stan Lee. Each profile has a narrative voice; there is delicate hybridity to the chapters that makes them more than just fact files. The reader is invited to be intrigued by these boys through the crafting of language and layout the author has chosen.

An absolute for every reading area. Teachers working with children 5 – 7 years can use this for whole-class reading; teachers working with 7+ years can include this book as an option in their classroom reading area.  The opportunity to deepen young people’s knowledge of these famous human beings, explore the political, social and moral sides to their lives and the great writing are all gifts to any practitioner. The title is true to its word, as we encounter each of these great men at the ‘boy’ stage of their lives. A fabulous opportunity for young people in our schools today to see how early on people can start to carve their paths of difference.