Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories


I knew nothing of the story of surfer Bethany Hamilton, or that of chess superstar Phiona Mutesi ahead of reading ‘Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Lives’. These are some of the unknown children and young children who feature in this absorbing book. The range of subjects and their achievements is riveting. Furthermore, the way the book is arranged sustains our interest. After a biography of each of the twenty nine featured young people, there is further information. We are invited to read about the issue that concerned the subject, or the area of his/ her achievement, or how an heroic act might have been achieved. There is information about how to join or support a particular focus. There is further information about the life of the young person. Thereafter, we learn about subsequent progress and impact of the work done.

Obviously people such as Malala Yousafzai and Ellie Simmons feature. However, the writer has chosen to head further into history to remind us of the extraordinary achievements and heroism of young people like Louis Braille and Desmond Doss. We are also reminded of continued struggles like those that absorb Greta Thunberg and Boyan Slat.

‘Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories’ is a title that deserves to be shared, read and known. We are proud to recommend this wonderful book to our readers.

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Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories

Amanda Li, illustrated by Amy Blackwell

(Buster Books)– hardback

‘Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories’ is an astounding book. Twenty-nine children and young people have defied their circumstances with exceptional results. Obviously, Greta Thunberg is our first subject. Thereafter,   Amanda Li explains her background in some greater depth than in Greta’s Story. It means that we understand Greta’s early appreciation of climate change.
Thereafter, she describes this trailblazer’s initial actions and what she continues to work toward. However, Greta Thunberg is only one of a few well-known subjects. Throughout my reading of this book, I was held to account by unknown people and achievements.
For example, there is William Kamkwamba alongside, the humanitarian efforts of Abraham Keita. It seems these children demonstrate enterprise, drive and imagination. Furthermore, despite setbacks to their efforts, they fight on. What’s more, they face loneliness and uncertainty and often the doubt of peers and society.
The focus of each subject is examined ahead of learning about each character. It means that we understand the inspiration of each issue. Thereafter, the book explains how readers might become involved and organisations that are relevant to each cause.  Frequently, there is an update on the progress of the action and the subject.
Bookwagon recommends Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories to schools and families. It works so well as a companion piece to the equally remarkable Children Who Changed the World.


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