Cover Image: You Can Change the World!

You Can Change the World!

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Member Reviews

This is a book I wish I had when I was a teenager. Margaret Rooke tells the stories of 50 different teenagers around the world who have committed to battle what is wrong in their world.

This book will be inspiring for anyone. The stories like the ones told in this book give me so much hope for the future. This generation is filled with incredible people who aren't waiting to make a difference. I am grateful for each of them.

For teenagers, this book with open their hearts to help them identify areas that they are passionate about. They will be able to ask the question "What should I do about what is happening in my community." 

What a brilliant concept for a book that is also well executed! It was easy to read and engaging. Put this in every library and buy a copy for every young man and woman in your life! 

The publisher provided an ARC through Netgalley. I have voluntarily decided to read and review, giving my personal opinions and thoughts
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You Can Change the World!: Everyday Teen Heroes Making a Difference Everywhere by Margaret Rooke is an anthology of 50 inspirational stories from a range of teens.

I have mixed feelings about this book; whilst it is providing teens with a voice, some of their more problematic views were not challenged by Rooke. This would have been a wonderful opportunity to have a discussion, instead the narratives feel like closed pieces, and the cause of this is the format. The book is marketed as a series of interviews, when in actuality, the teens are telling their stories with no active input from Rooke. Personally, I would have liked to see how a similar set of questions would have been answered by each of the teens.

That said, each teen had a unique voice, and it was empowering to read about the change[s] that they have enacted either within their own world, or within their wider communities. As a twenty two year old who works with teens on a daily basis, it reasserts exactly what I know about teens: they are fantastically driven and if they can access the necessary tools, then they will succeed at far more than just the task at hand.

I feel that this book could have been much more diverse in the narratives that it selected. Hopefully, if there are future editions of this book, additional voices can be included, particularly those who are: disabled; trans or gender non-conforming; from low income households; and living outside of the West. This obviously isn’t an exhaustive list, the aim should be for all children/teens to be able to situate themselves inside one of these narratives. Representation is imperative in this type of literature.

Overall, this is an inspirational read and shows that teens do not need to take the responsibility of changing the entire world onto their shoulders, but their actions can positively impact it. Being able to read about your peers affecting change on a more tangible level should be reassuring and encouraging.
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You Can Change the World! is an inspiring read that is a great addition to my high school library. As a librarian, I am regularly seeing out books that are relevant, inspiring and engaging reads for teens. This was a win. I loved that this didn't emphasize famous teens - Anne Frank, Greta Thunberg, and Malala get so much attention that it is hard for teens to feel that they can relate. This book highlights ordinary teens doing extraordinary things. It is a quick read and has multiple entry points. What a treat! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this before purchasing this for my library!
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It was a good reading, full of rather inspiring stories of teenagers from all over in life. It is a book filled with hope, hope for a change, hope for faith in a better world
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You Can Change the World presents a very strong message for teenagers throughout the world. This books showcases that one person can make quite an impact on their community so long as they are willing to try and make a change.
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A nice anthology with tons of inspiring stories! As a teen, I realized that I have just as much power as these people do to change the world! Only thing to be improved is to have more diverse storytellers. Most of these people has their parents at their sides and were at least middle class.
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You Can Change the World is an important and inspirational book targeted at teenagers and featuring thought-provoking, conversation-starter stories from teens around the world. Each true tale shows readers that it is possible for one person to make a huge contribution to an area so long as they have the courage to try. They are all engaging and absorbing but like any story collection, you tend to enjoy some more than others. They have all done something amazing related to a topic close to their heart. Each is well written with a distinct voice and a much-needed uplifting message in a world devoid of hope.

They are all teens going through the usual teen troubles but also doing extraordinarily selfless things to help the world move forward and into a better place one small step at a time. Told in their own words these stories can be dipped in and out of at leisure or read cover to cover in a single sitting. It is the perfect book for ambitious teens who wish to chase big dreams and should be in every library and classroom. Many teens feel they do not have a voice but given that they are the next generation of adults it's only right that they can shape the world that will soon be their oyster. This is altruism at its finest. Many thanks to Jessica Kingsley Publishers for an ARC.
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Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Release Date: 21 June 2019.

I received this as an eARC from @netgalley for review. This is a collection of stories from teenagers all over the world who either have made a difference for others, made a difference for themselves, or both. These teens want the media to view this age-group as more than just troublesome individuals; they want the world to see the power, strength, and talent of teenagers.

This was a quick and powerful read. Each teenager in this novel has a story to tell and they tell it with such passion. It’s easy to see that every voice contained in this book truly believes in their cause, themselves, each other, and the world as a whole. The stories range from campaigns for change (dealing with issues such as cyber bullying, cleaning up beaches, making sanitary products available to all girls, and protecting others from violence) to more personal experiences (such as cerebral palsy, a death in the family, a broken spine, and breaking stereotypes). While I personally didn’t get tons from this book, I respect and encourage the messages within, and feel it is an important book for teenagers to read. I highly recommend to teenagers (or anyone!) who is struggling or who wants to make a change either personally or in the world. Both are just as important.

“My message to all teens and tweens is to have faith in yourself. It’s so easy to get down on yourself. Instead, lead with your strength.”

“The difficulty is getting people to engage with an issue that they feel is ‘insignificant’ or ‘pointless’ or even ‘stupid’, but you can never allow these voices to change your beliefs, to chip away at any determination that you have.”

“I always have hope that tomorrow will be better than today, no matter what has happened.”
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This is a collection of inspirational young peoples' accounts of their own stories. They are mostly well written and will appeal to teens of all sexes alike. I will certainly make sure to get this in my secondary school library to inspire my teens and show them that with inspiration, passion and hard work anyone can achieve. This is also a brilliant book for the older generations who may be of the impression that young people are phone addicts without focus.
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I think that this book should be available in high school libraries everywhere. Many teenagers want to make a difference but lack the confidence believing that adults wont support what they're trying to do however reading this book, I can see how inspirational they can be.

Teenagers are the next generation of adults and we should be encouraging them to make positive changes to create a world that they envision. 

This book includes teenagers who changed their own world, changed the world of their local community and those who are influencing changes in the world on a global scale. No goal is too small.
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Rating: 2/5

Source: ARC from Netgalley for review

Pages: 240


A collection of vignettes, each a few pages long, from about 50 teenagers to inspire fellow teenagers to take action in the world, get through adverse experiences or turn their lives around. 

The Good

There was a variety of stories, and some of them were indeed inspiring, like the girl who got Tesco to agree to stop selling eggs from caged hens or the guy into fashion design who makes clothes for the homeless. 

It wasn't just famous people. There were a lot of people I know or know of from the teen activism/science fair circuit but there was only one of them here. Whether that was because the author couldn't get a piece from them or chose not to talk to them, I don't know. It would've been interesting to hear from, for example, Greta Thunberg and Jamie Margolin. However, it was good to give these lesser-known activists some publicity. And the fact that these teens seem relatively normal, not at the exalted heights of Greta Thunberg or Malala Yousafzai, might make it easier for reading teenagers to relate and feel inspired.

I noticed there were loads of autistic people included, which makes me wonder whether we're drawn to activism or whether the author is drawn to us! 

The Bad

My main issue is that this book was false advertising. It's called 'YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD' but only a small section of it is about campaigns to address issues in the world, while the rest are to do with things like coping with a parent's death or bullying. Those are good things and deserve recognition, and perhaps the author means to express the idea that change on a small scale changes the world too, but that did not get across. 

Something that really annoyed me was the insults towards non-teenagers. So many of the contributors to the book said teens are more flexible, creative, etc than non-teenagers. It really annoyed me because the way it was written made me feel ancient when I'm only twenty! I'm one year done with being a teen but they made it sound like I'm basically dead! That said, it did have some fair points like that teens have a unique ability to make change through social media and in school because of the way teens socialise, and that teens are impulsive and more likely to take risks, which is often bad but can be necessary to make changes.

Then there's a general issue with any sort of book like this, which is: how do they decide what's 'good'? Presumably they want to encourage teens to change the world for the good, but that's a very ill-defined concept. For example, I think all the teens here used non-violent (and not even mildly disruptive of business at all) means, but I think violently liberating a concentration camp would be considered good. And if a cause is mainstream enough to be celebrated in a mainstream book, maybe it doesn't need to be fought for. For example, years ago when being gay was widely considered immoral, smaller, fringe gay activist groups agitated for rights while the mainstream wouldn't support them. So maybe the people who really need our help are the people we aren't hearing from yet. 

Personally I had some problems with what was celebrated in this book and didn't agree with everything the contributors were saying. Someone was talking about how we should understand other cultures, like how their African friend wasn't comfortable with a couple sitting together. There was also a guy who was 7 feet tall at ~15 and after playing basketball for a bit got scouted for a team - what is the moral there? Be born with immense genetic privilege? (It's probably to make the most of the talents you're given, and the guy seems nice - it just reminded me how much of success in sports and other elite fields is due to innate genetic talents). And someone trying to help disabled students in their school by getting everyone to wear sunglasses for a day to 'understand what it feels like to have autism' (???).

The ARC was also formatted terribly. Obviously, the whole point of an Advanced Readers Copy is that it isn't finished, so you're not supposed to comment on exact quotes or formatting, but this was done to a far lower standard than any of the many ARCs I've read before - lots of 'insert ending here' or 'insert illustration here' and pictures in the middle of sentences. 


What I hoped for from this book was a collection of stories with different methods of changing the world, but it only gave me a couple, like petitions and fundraising. The book even says at the end that it has a list of tips for changing the world, but they're not very useful.

The book is probably good for inspiring young teenagers to make something of themselves, but doesn't live up to the promise of the title. 

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Excellent and very inspiring book! It should be on every shelf and required reading in every classroom. Teens sometimes feel like they have no power to change or control anything in their lives. This book will show them the power they have to create change in their world. Great stories of every day teens who made a difference.Excellent and very inspiring book!
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DNF at 60%

I did really like this book. It was very inspiring and touching. After a while it started to feel very repetitive though, which is why I didn't finish it
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You Can Change the World!: Everyday Teen Heroes Making a Difference Everywhere is for anyone interested in learning about or leading their own social justice movement. It can be read cover to cover or stories can be read at random. Whichever the reader chooses, they will read inspirational stories of success and social change. What's special about this book is that there are lots of different definitions of 'success'--from small to large social change--and the teens from all over the world tell their own stories in their own words. A wide variety of topics is covered, and is arranged by social justice action: from "Demanding Change" and "Never Giving Up" through "Turning My Life Around" and "Helping Others". Each story includes Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and/or website information so readers can get involved, learn more, and support the cause. It concludes with "Your Toolkit", which are tips for readers wanting to enact change in their own community.

This book is a must-have resource for teachers who help students with social justice or community projects. After reading the ARC I immediately pre-ordered it for my classroom. 

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Jessica Kingsley Publishers for providing me with an advanced reader's copy of this book.
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i genuinely really loved this!! i think teenagers can contribute so many important things to the world and this book is proof. i want to show it to everyone who ever believed that teenagers aren’t good enough or have had their voices ignored. the only downside to this book was how it made everything so diverse yet still didn’t speak to any transgender children, which i thought wasn’t fair because they deserve to have their voices listened to as well
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I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was really interesting and very eye opening.

I think there's something that everyone can take from this book.

There were some sections and stories I loved and found fascinating, and others I wasn't that interested in, but overall it was a fun read.
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It was a good reading, full of rather inspiring stories of teenagers from all over in life. It is a book filled with hope, hope for a change, hope for faith in a better world
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-GOOD GOOD stories about people changing the world 
-shows how you can make an impact even at such a young age 
-thought provoking
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A great book filled with amazing stories of teenagers from all walks of life. This book will inspire others to go out there and chase their dreams and never give up hope.
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What a brilliant book! This book recounts the stories of young people who have made a difference to the world in some way. What makes these stories so important is that they are all about ordinary young people - with the usual pressures of growing up - doing extraordinary things, by following their passions and being bold enough to try and do something for positive change.
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