By Janet Wilson
“How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?” (Xhosa child)
Our Heroes begins with the story of ubuntu, an African word that loosely translated means humanity. Ubuntu recognizes that all people are connected, that we are part of a greater whole. It is a small word for a big idea and in Janet Wilson’s Our Heroes, it is small people who put it into action.
In Wilson’s third book in her series about children who make a difference, she has collected stories of young activists from around the world. Each child decided to take action after a personal experience illuminated for them one of the world’s terrible injustices. They take on hunger, poverty, discrimination and violence with heartfelt, well-focused ideas. Arti works towards eliminating prejudice in her temple so that her low-caste friend can worship too. Kesz provides flip-flops to protect the feet of the children who must scavenge the dump to live. Adib shows farmers how to use mobile technology to get a fair price for their crops. Their stories will inspire, as will the young activists’ words of advice. Find something you’re passionate about. Share. You’re never too young. Don’t let your parents stop you!
Her portraits of the children are warm and engaging, and the photo layout is informative. The book will inspire children and humble adults, and is a must-have for schools, libraries and families interested in social consciousness.
Our Heroes: How Kids are Making a Difference
Written and illustrated by Janet Wilson
Second Story Press
September 12, 2014
Reviewed by Penny Draper for the National Reading Campaign
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