Friday, April 6, 2018

ReadItDaddy's Third Book of the Week - Week Ending 6th April 2018 - "Stories for Boys who Dare to be Different" by Ben Brooks and Quinton Winter (Quercus)

We had to squeeze in just one more Book of the Week this week, making room for an extremely important and fantastically timely book...
In a year where we've been flooded with titles celebrating the amazing achievements of women throughout history, boys may often feel left out.

In "Stories for Boys who Dare to be Different" by Ben Brooks and Quinton Winter, the emphasis is NOT on producing a book that's solely for boys, but a book that had both Charlotte and I completely immersed and impressed within the space of just a few pages.

Ben and Quinton have collected together a truly impressive roll call of amazing "boys" from history, important men who excelled in their field, following the format we've already seen used so successfully in more female-oriented titles.

And here's the thing. We've always brought C up to ignore gender boundaries, to understand that women and men are equally capable of achieving amazing things, and that the battle of the sexes is fought in the minds and hearts of people who could truly benefit from books like this - but who sadly may never actually pick up a copy due to their own inbuilt prejudices.

As hard as we've tried, the very presence of "Boys" on the cover put C on the back-foot. "This isn't for me!" she said. "Why did they send us a book for boys? I'm a girl!"

Do you see how hard the constant struggle against that mindset is? Even when you are parents who absolutely cut through all that stuff - as we did when we sat down to review this one and watched C's opinion completely change when we started to dig into the book.

In side "Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different" you'll find a truly amazing and eclectic mix of 100 boys and men who changed, perhaps even shaped the world through their amazing intelligence, resilience, charisma and spirit.

Sir David Attenborough, just one of the inspirational men in this fantastic book
There are many historical figures in the book, but what impressed us the most was where the book showed folk that C would instantly know, instantly be able to identify with and would be more inspired by than (in some cases) someone who lived and died centuries before she was born (I know she's definitely my daughter when she spotted Taika Waititi and said how utterly cool and 'chill' he looked. That's my girl!)

The great thing about the book was that it helped me show her some of the amazing kids who, even at a very early age, achieved great things and made a huge impression on others through their acts of bravery, generosity and kindness.

An incredibly diverse mix of historic figures and contemporary folk are featured in the book
The one story that touched C more than any other was the story of this amazing kid...


Caine Monroy, a boy from a poor neighbourhood in the US, set up an arcade he made entirely himself from discarded scraps and cardboard in his dad's auto shop. He was met by a film-maker who showed what Caine had done, and his story (and video) went viral, leading the the creation of Imagination.org - a foundation for helping kids like Caine all around the world to realise their potential, unlock their creativity and help their own communities too.

It's just one of the stories in this book that are heart-meltingly amazing, and being able to share something with C that had already impressed me from digging around news sites was really fantastic.

The book is such a treasure trove of amazing stories, inspirational figures from diverse backgrounds, that it's impossible not to be completely won over by it.

I can imagine that there'll be a few small-minded folk who may object to seeing books like this divided by gender but to underline this clearly, this is not just a book for boys, this is a book for everyone - boys and girls alike - and everyone will find amazing inspiration here.

C's best bit: Learning all about Caine Monroy (the Cardboard Arcade Kid) and the fabulous story of Ghyslain Raza, the famous "Star Wars Kid" whose viral video helped him win out against his bullies.

Daddy's favourite bit: This really is a truly amazing piece of work. 100 amazing historical and contemporary boys and men who will really inspire girls and boys, and show them that they can do anything they put their minds to. Absolutely a book of the week without question!

"Stories for Boys who Dare to be Different" by Ben Brooks and Quinton Winter is out now, published by Quercus Books (kindly supplied for review)

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