Teen Pioneers – Young People Who Have Changed The World by Ben Hubbard

The Blurb On The Back:

Teen Pioneers celebrates the groundbreaking achievements of twenty young people. From journalists to political activists, and from inventors to green entrepreneurs, each of these teenage pioneers has acted to help others and make our world a better place in which to live.

This book will inspire and empower you and prove that anyone, no matter their age, can make a difference. 

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

In this inspirational YA book, Ben Hubbard compiles mini biographies on 21 people who were all teenagers when they acted to try and change the world. Some you may have heard of, e.g. Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and the Hong Kong activist, Joshua Wong, and others you will hear more of in the future. It’s the perfect book to wave at any grown-up who dares to complain about young people lacking motivation and seeking to take all the time.

The thing to note is that this is a truly global book, with Hubbard picking people from around the world and who are concerned with a wide range of issues. Particularly good is how he uses each biographical section to explain the underlying issue in a straightforward way that never feels patronising and which hopefully will help get the target readership interested in these kind of issues. Hubbard’s intention is to inspire, and I think he succeeds – the range of stories and experiences here is awe-inspiring and there are a number of young people who display considerable courage and I was genuinely moved by a number of the stories here.

The people covered in this book are:

SONITA ALIZADEH is a rapper and activist from Afghanistan who campaigns against forced marriage, defying conservative expectations and her own mother who wanted her to marry.

MIKAILA ULMER is an entrepreneur based in the USA who uses part of the proceeds from her lemonade business to donate to charities that support bee populations.

RENE SILVA is a Brazilian journalist and activist who first came to the world’s attention when he covered a raid on the favela he lived in.

MARY GRACE HENRY an education campaigner and entrepreneur in the USA who uses the proceeds from her headband business to support education for girls in Africa, Haiti and Paraguay.

SALVADOR GÓMEZ COLÓN a fundraiser and social campaigner from Puerto Rico who raised over $125,000 to fund washing machines and solar lamps for victims of the 2017 Hurricane Maria in his home country.

CAMPBELL REMESS an entrepreneur and charity founder from Australia who makes teddy bears for sick children in hospital and who founded a charity to send cancer suffers on holidays on cruise ships.

MALALA YOUSAFZAI is probably the best known person in this book – an education campaigner from Pakistan who won the Nobel Peace Prize and who survived an attempt by the Taliban to murder her.

YASH GUPTA is an Indian immigrant to the USA who set up a glasses exchange initiative when he discovered that 13 million children around the world do not have access to spectacles.

JOSHUA WONG is a student activist and politician in Hong Kong, who rose to prominence thanks to his work with the Umbrella Movement in 2014 and who was imprisoned for his activism.

KELVIN DOE is an inventor and engineer from Sierra Leone who used discarded electronics to make electrical lighting and his own radio station. For me, Kelvin’s was the most inspirational story in the book both because of his young age when he started inventing and for his initiative. I really look forward to reading more of his achievements in the future.

JAZZ JENNINGS is a transgender rights activist from the USA who became famous (but who also suffered harassment) after a television interview in 2007.

KIARA NIRGHIN is a scientist and inventor in South Africa who invented a super absorbent polymer from orange peel and avocado skins, which could revolutionise water storage in drought-hit parts of the world.

ANOYARA KHATUN is a children’s rights activist from India who was kidnapped by traffickers at the age of 12 and forced to work as domestic slave before escaping and being helped by a charity. She now works to stop traffickers, having rescued 200 children from forced labour and 50 from forced marriage.

SHIBBY DE GUZMAN is a political activist in the Philippines who campaigns against President Duterte’s so-called drug war, including leading hundreds of students out on protest.

MUZOON ALMELLEHAN is a refugee rights and education campaigned from Syria, whose family fled Syria due to the civil war and who campaigned for girls’ continued education in a refugee camp.

SHUBHAM BANERJEE is a Belgian immigrant to the USA who invented a braille printer out of a Lego robotics kit. If you want to have your mind blown by just how innovative and creative young people can be, Shubham’s story is a must-read.

MELATI and ISABEL WIJSEN are Indonesian sisters who campaign against plastic bags after seeing how plastic ruined the beaches in their home in Bali.

EASTON LACHAPPELLE is an inventor in the USA who built a robotic arm out of Lego and a 3D printer for a science fair and who is now trying to bring cheap prosthetics to the market that can be controlled with the mind. Like Shubham’s story above, this is an incredible read.

SARAH SOBKA is a scientist in the United Kingdom who helped research whether the drug Lubiprostone (used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome) could also have benefits for sufferers of cystic fibrosis.

LISA RANRAN HU is a film director and LGTBQ+ campaigner in China who uses her work to try and raise awareness and change attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people.

TEEN PIONEERS: YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE CHANGED THE WORLD was released in the United Kingdom on 11th April 2019. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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