Even More Fantastic Failures: True Stories of People Who Changed the World by Falling Down First by Luke Reynolds. Aladdin, 9781582707341, 2020
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5+
What did you like about the book? This book is packed full of personal stories, movie and book suggestions, and probing questions to help guide and inspire children in achieving their goals. The book is divided into chapters that feature a successful person, past or present. Some of these people include Barack Obama (44th president), Kehkashan Basu (founder of Green Hope), Carvens Lissaint (Broadway star), Robert Indiana (artist), and Mindy Kaling (actor), just to name a few. Each chapter begins with a brief paragraph describing the road to success of these individuals and it initially appears that these people had a clear road to success. However, the second paragraph begins with something such as “If only”, “Not”, “Nope”, and “Not quite”. The reader can then see that the path to success for these people was long, challenging, and filled with failures that they needed to work through. Sprinkled throughout each story are little bits of information about other successful people such as Greta Thunberg, Beyoncé Knowles, Helen Keller, Claude Monet, and Charles Darwin.
What I really liked about this book is that it features stories about some well-known successful people, but it also includes acts of courage and selflessness that might not be as well known but are equally as important. For example, a young man named Satchel Smith was working at the Homewood Suites in Beaumont, Texas when Tropical Storm Imelda devastated the area. Smith was the only staff member to arrive at work that day and he singlehandedly kept the guests safe, warm, and fed. Another interesting story comes from the founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Jerry Greenfield. He wanted to attend medical school and applied to forty – and got rejected from every one. That led Greenfield on a different path– and the rest is history.
The last few pages of the book offer some movie and book suggestions featuring inspirational stories of people who have overcome challenges to pursue their dreams. There is also a fun section of 100 questions designed to motivate and spark creativity in achieving success. Some of these questions include “If someone were to give you a grant of $1 million to do something that would benefit society, what would you do? “ or “If you could switch places with anyone you know and live out their life for a whole week, who would you choose and why?”
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing
To whom would you recommend this book? This is perfect for children between the ages of 8-12 years old. The short stories make it easy to pick up and read just a section at a time.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, middle school classrooms, anyone who works with children between the ages of 8-12 years old. I also felt the questions in the back of the book would be great for writing prompts in a classroom.
Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: April 1, 2021
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