Book Review, Non-fiction Books

How to be Extra-Ordinary written by Rashmi Sirdeshpande & illustrated by Annabel Tempest

How to be Extra-Ordinary is a fascinating non-fiction book written by Rashmi Sirdeshpande & illustrated by Annabel Tempest. Telling the stories of 15 incredible people from around the world, this book will inspire children and adults alike. Each double-page spread features one amazing person from the last century. Some are quite recognisable, such as Sir David Attenborough, Sir Mo Farah and Judith Kerr, while others may be new to readers, such as Dr. Sau Lan Wu or David Nott.  What all of these individuals have in common is an amazing journey of struggle, determination and success – they have all made the world a better place.

“People often ask me what drives me. Perhaps the more difficult question would be: What would it take to stop me?” Wangari Maathai

Children will be able to relate to the accessible nature of this book. Starting out with the story of each person’s childhood, young readers are able to see what they were like as children, see a little bit of themselves in the story and think, “That’s a bit like me! Maybe I can do something great like them.” There is no doubt that children will be inspired to be extraordinary too! The illustrations are fun and absolutely captivating. Children can learn more about the person’s life through the detail of the drawings and extra pictures that bring the story to life.

“Life is so precious… and to try and preserve it is a wonderful thing.” David Nott

Interestingly, not all of these extraordinary people were recognised for what they achieved while they were still alive. For some, it was not until after their death that they received the accolade they so deserved. This demonstrates the value of doing the right thing, working hard and persevering even if there isn’t an immediate reward. Doing the right thing because it is the right thing is simply enough.

“If you’ve got a life that so many people didn’t have, you can’t waste it.” Judith Kerr

This book would be a valuable addition to any school or classroom library. It mirrors so many of the key values and ethos that schools strive to develop with children: hope, forgiveness, hard work, dedication, quick thinking, gratitude, persistence and bravery. Every one of the stories inside would translate into a powerful assembly or PSHE lesson. In doing so, children can be guided to realise that being extraordinary starts with small steps and a strong foundation of learning and caring for others and the world around us.

“The future of humanity, and, indeed, all life on Earth, now depends on us.” Sir David Attenborough

Extra-Ordinary Biographies Include:

  • Sir David Attenborough – A Naturalist who Brought the World into our Homes
  • Krystyna Skarbek – Britain’s First Female Spy
  • Aeham Ahmad – The Pianist of Yarmouk
  • Keiko Fukuda Sensei – Grandmaster Judoka
  • Nelson Mandela – Freedom Fighter. Father of a Nation
  • Dr. Sau Lan Wu – Particle Physicist
  • Sir “Mo” Farah – Distance Runner. Double Double Olympic Champion.
  • Judith Kerr – Author-Illustrator. Refugee
  • Professor Stephen Hawking – Theoretical Physicist. Cosmologist
  • Wangari Maathai – Environmental Activist
  • David Nott – War Surgeon. Humanitarian
  • Michelle Obama – Activist. Mother. Lawyer. Former First Lady of the United States
  • Alan Turing – Mathematician. Codebreaker
  • Frida Kahlo – Artist. Revolutionary. Icon
  • Abdul Kalam – Teacher. Rocket Scientist. Former President of India

“There are still many causes worth sacrificing for; so much more history yet to be made.” Michelle Obama

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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