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National Women’s History Month

I wrote and posted this review last year, but wanted to repost it in honor of a most inspiring woman I had the pleasure to know – Sandra McLeod Humphrey. She died along with her husband in a fire this past November and I could not think of a more fitting tribute to her kindness, talent and gift for connecting with children than to share her last book with you all once again. I hope you, too, will take a moment to honor the remarkable women you have known in your life.

– Ronna Mandel

They Stood ALONE!: 25 Men and Women Who Made a Difference
(Prometheus Books, $14.00, ages 9-12) by Sandra McLeod Humphrey is reviewed today by Ronna Mandel.


Meet 13 men and 12 women who all marched to the beat of a different drummer, often disregarding outside opinion, and by doing so made enormous contributions to our world. Parents can spark the flame of discovery by reading this book to children younger than the recommended age range because the writing is uncomplicated and straightforward and each chapter brief enough to hold their interest yet packed with substantial information. Written in second person, there’s an instant feeling of you are there connecting children to the important personages described.

Since March is National Women’s History Month, here’s a chance to introduce boys and girls to some outstanding women whose names they’ve heard of, but about whom they know very little. Take Marie Curie for example, the first person to receive the Nobel Prize not once, but twice or Mother Teresa who at the age of 12 received a calling from God to become a nun and help the poor.

Whether you seek to learn about artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci who barely had a formal education or the founder of modern astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus, the inspiring people McLeod Humphrey has selected will leave the reader in awe and eager to know more.

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Philosophy for Middle Grade Readers

Lives of the Great Spiritual Leaders ($19.95, Thames and Hudson, middle grade readers) is the first book of its kind I have seen. 20 of the most powerful spiritual leaders from Moses (1250 BC) to the Dalai Lama (present day) are featured in this book, giving middle grade readers background and highlights of a wide variety of philosophies. Listed in chronological order of when he or she lived, each leader’s nationality, religious association and basic doctrine is listed, followed by more details about that individual’s life. We learn about how Socrates showed the people of the world they do not really know the answers to questions they think they understand, how Gandhi taught his people to peacefully protest against injustice to make positive changes and how Mother Teresa gave her life to the poorest of the poor.

From the most famous spiritual leaders in the world, to the lesser known, what I love about this book is that author Henry Whitbread gives us enough information to get a basic sense of the background, beliefs struggles and accomplishments of each individual. Every section of the book is complemented by excellent quotes, photographs and illustrations. No matter what religion a child follows, an important part of a well-rounded education is learning about other religions and philosophies and the spiritual leaders who made great impacts on the world. This book should be on classroom shelves and in the libraries of families everywhere.

This book was reviewed by Debbie Glade.

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