Stories for Kids Who Dare to Be Different
“There’s a project that’s been conceived for us each of us. It’s just up to us to find that project,” proclaims classical vocalist Andrea Bocelli near the beginning of Stories for Kids Who Dare to Be Different. Bocelli, who became one of the world’s most celebrated singers after losing his sight as a child, is one of the 100 fascinating people whose early struggles and extraordinary achievement are depicted in Ben Brooks and Quinton Wintor’s more gender-inclusive follow-up to Brooks’ 2018 publication, Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different. From Socrates to Pope Francis, the diverse assortment of individuals is gathered from all over the world, from the distant past to the present, from the famous to the virtually unknown. There’s Ana Nzinga, the 17th-century African Queen who, at the age of 16, negotiated peace between the Portuguese invaders and the kingdom of Ndongo. There’s the great Russian poet, Anna Akhmatova, who outwitted the Soviet censors by composing her poems in her head and reciting them to her friends. There’s the Argentine paleontologist, Zulma Brandoni de Gasparini, the only woman to have a dinosaur named in her honor. There are also plenty of more recent and recognizable figures, including actress Whoopee Golberg, Icelandic pop singer Björk, children’s author Dr. Seuss, and artist Andy Warhol. Narrated by actors Jasmine Blackborow and Joe Leat, the audiobook consists of 2- to 3-minute vignettes which briefly highlight the major challenges and achievements of each life. Given the compact design of the audiobook (100 segments in slightly less than 4 hours), only the barest biographical sketches are provided, and the audiobook might have been better served by a slightly smaller list of individuals and more extensive biographical information. Hopefully, young readers will be motivated to seek out additional information about their favorite characters.
Running time: 3 hours, 59 minutes
David Shirley ©2019 Parents’ Choice
David Shirley’s recent nonfiction titles include A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fix It Leroy! His YA biographies, Every Day I Sing the Blues: The Story of B. B. King and Satchel Paige: Baseball Legend were honored as the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens.