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DARE TO DREAM! 25 Extraordinary Lives

Author: Sandra McLeod Humphrey

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Publisher: Prometheus Books, ½2005

Material: paperback

Summary: This collection of twenty-five short biographies introduces us to heroes in all avenues of achievement: invention, medicine, arts, science, education, sports. Each story is a testament to perseverence and self-determination. Whatever a child's dream (science, education, sports, invention, performing arts), there is a hero AND heroine who made their dream come true.

Type of Reading: independent reading

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 11 and Up

Interest Level: 9 to 13

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: The collection ran the gamut of great achievers. Some I knew about, others were new to me. The stories were too short for my taste, and I was uninspired. Although balanced in numbers, some of the selections puzzle me. For example, why Sammy Sosa and not Roberto Clemente?

Pros: The stories have enough information to potentially inspire a child to research and learn more about a person of interest. Great balance of men and women for all fields of achievement.

Cons: The mini-biographies were choppy at times. The collection may be too heavy with sports figures (24% are athletes, all but one male), including Michael Jordan, who left school early to go pro.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a carefully crafted, balanced collection of stories. Kids today probably don't learn about many of these heroes unless their personally inspired.


Educational Themes: The biographies celebrate personal triumphs, despite others' judgments and roadblocks. A great book for talking about being true to one's self!

Notes: Sandra is the 2005 Helen Keating Ott Award Winner

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - biography, short stories, history, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: May 2005, June 2006

Other Reviews:


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