“Kid Trailblazers: True Tales of Childhood from Changemakers and Leaders” by Robin Stevenson, illustrated by Allison Steinfeld
c.2022, Quirk Books
Almost every problem has a solution.
Sometimes, a fix is right in front of your face, and you can make it without anybody’s help. Other times, well, another set of eyes or hands can help you find the right path, or a crisis can lead you to an “AHA!” Just remember: almost every problem has a solution, and as you’ll see in “Kid Trailblazers” by Robin Stevenson, illustrated by Allison Steinfeld, you don’t have to be an adult to figure it out.
Sometimes, being a kid is frustrating. You might feel powerless, like you can’t do anything. So how does it feel to know that some of the world’s biggest changemakers were kids once, just like you?
Take, for instance, Al Gore, a former vice president and leader in the battle against climate change. When Gore was a boy, his parents set a place for him at dinner parties, so that he could talk with and learn from important and influential adult guests during the meal.
Or take Benazir Bhutto, who was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim country. Bhutto’s parents were both activists and changemakers, and she followed in their footsteps. Germany’s Angela Merkel loved to visit the countryside as a girl but when she was seven years old, Germany split in two and so did her family, because of politics. Speaking of politics, Kamala Harris’s parents saw political activism as something worthwhile and good, and Stacey Abrams’ parents kept their daughters busy with plenty of responsibilities.
Civil rights activist John Lewis’s first “good trouble” was applying for a library card at a segregated library. Marley Dias started a book drive for underprivileged kids when she was a 10-year-old. Environmentalist David Suzuki spent much of his childhood in a Canadian-Japanese internment camp during World War II. Greta Thunberg endured bullying because of her autism. Mari Copenny used her Little Miss Flint title to advocate for clean water for her city. And like most kids, Shonda Rimes watched TV, but what she saw was a need for programming that looked like the real world…
The school year stretches ahead of your child, long and unknown. What is known, though, is that there’ll be a time when your 9-to-12-year-old will scramble for a biography for some sort of class, and “Kid Trailblazers” is a good one to choose.
Not only will this book cover the “biography” part of what your child will need, it’ll be a book they’ll like. Author Robin Stevenson’s chosen a small handful of influential, changemaking adults who were kids once – just like your child, but with a possible twist: your child will clearly see the seeds of activism in each biographical subject’s childhood.
Without the rest of the story – which Stevenson tells and Steinfeld wonderfully illustrates – the inspiration could get lost, but that doesn’t happen here. Instead, this book helps young leaders-to-be get excited about fixing problems they spot, and they may meet some new heroes, too. For your biography-finding this school year, “Kid Trailblazers” is the easy solution.