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Dare to Dream! 25 Extraordinary Lives Review by Nancy Wagner

By Sandra McLeod Humphrey
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive
Amherst, New York 14228-2197
(716) 691-0133

This is a book with 25 short biographies of persons either born in the United States or who immigrated to the United States. It is geared to ages 7 and up. The purpose is to show real heroes for young people who started out as ordinary as that young reader is in just as ordinary circumstances and some of these persons were downright poor. But each of these persons accomplished extraordinary things.

Beyond the expected persons such as Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Martin Luther King, are persons such as Chien-Shiung Wu, Maya Angelou, Weather Whitestone, Ben Carson, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thorp, and 15 more. The book does a pretty good job of presenting a mixture of sports personalities, doctors, inventors, scientists, and even entertainers while spanning Black, Native American, Hispanic, Caucasian, and Asian races. Each of these persons has come to be someone worthy of respect in their careers and personal life as adults, overcoming problems along the way with a dream and determination.

The writing style is very readable and enjoyable and is quite appropriate to children in the elementary years or middle years. Some knowledge of modern history would be helpful to fully understand some of the circumstances they describe, but there is probably enough basic information given to convey the sense of difficulties such as in the Nazi years in Europe or growing up black in the Southern states under the Jim Crow laws. Each story could easily be used as a basis for further study about the person's life and the time period for expanding learning, though the time periods represented are only from Abraham Lincoln to present day, with many of these persons still very much alive.

-- Product Review by: Nancy Wagner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2005