They Stood Alone
25 Men and Women who made a Difference
By Sandra McLeod Humphrey
Prometheus Books 2011
Author and clinical psychologist, Sandra McLeod Humphrey, writes in her author’s note, “that society frequently tends to honor its living conformists and its dead troublemakers,” In her historical book, written for pre-teens and adults of all ages, she proves her point by introducing 25 of the many women and men who helped mold the future of the world. Some are well-known to every student, some slightly heard of and others the reader may not know—but all made “revolutionary breakthroughs . . . in spite of societal opposition”.
While the array of people chosen for this book are diverse, the outcomes are similar. Rosa Parks, by refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus, instigated the Civil Rights Movement. The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, proved that, like birds, people can fly, by building the first airplane. This group of heroes and heroines listed in Author Humphrey’s book are a small portion of those who “marched to the beat of a different drummer”, creating the pathway toward development on all levels of society. In her final words, she asserts that each of these special lives impinged upon each other, forming a chain of influence that continues to this day.
This beautifully narrated book will grab the attention of young readers by Ms. Humphrey’s novel approach to teaching without preaching. She makes history a fun subject, deftly bringing these pioneers of the past to life; exploring both their achievements and their flaws. Children, especially, will be hooked by these stories as they read things not often found in history books: such as Leonardo da Vinci asking the question kids like to ask, like “what causes tickling” and “what would it be like to walk on water”. He was a genius with a child’s curiosity.
This delightful book is written in an easy to grasp writing style that will entice the imaginations of children of all ages. It will also teach school children how to write essays and aid in the research for little-known facts for book reports. “They Stood Alone’ should be suggested as required reading in all classrooms; assisting teachers in stimulating young minds with the evidence that they, too, can accomplish anything and everything, becoming one of the many who “ stood alone”.
Winner of a dozen book awards, Sandra McLeod Humphrey has written other outstanding books, such as, “Hot Issues, Cool Choices,” “If You Had to Choose, What Would You Do?” and “Dare to Dream,” just three of her many educational books for children.
Her final words to her young readers are: May you always follow your heart and never give up your Dream.
Micki Peluso: reviewer, writer, journalist and author of . . . And the Whippoorwill Sang