Little People, BIG DREAMS: Treasury: 50 Stories from Brilliant Dreamers; Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara & Lisbeth Kaiser, illustrated by various
Learning about the lives of others is always fascinating and Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara is my go-to author for child-friendly biographies of notable figures that children should know about. When I heard that there was to be a treasury of her fabulous books I just had to get my hands on it.
What do you want to be when you grow up? An inventor like Steve Jobs, to fight for climate change like Greta Thunberg, a sports-star like Muhammad Ali, a musician like Ella Fitzgerald. Or perhaps you are inspired by the endeavours of Ernest Shackleton, the courage of Emmeline Pankhurst or the sense of injustice felt by Rosa Parks. All of these people started off just like you, a child with a dream. And when you have a dream and are determined to let nothing stand in your way, then anything is possible…
I adore the Little People, Big Dreams series so to have fifty biographies compiled into one wonderful book is marvellous. It is worth noting that these are not new stories, the original texts have been rewritten for an older audience and the timelines are more detailed and expansive, it all adds up to an exceptional read.
It cannot have been easy to choose only fifty people from the ever-expanding series of titles but the ones that have been selected make for a brilliant assortment of figures throughout history through to the present day that have impacted, changed and shaped the world. The dreamers are a wonderfully diverse bunch from all over the world and include authors, activists, scientists, mathematicians, explorers, fashion designers, artists, sportspeople, musicians, naturalists, conservationists, actors - I could go on, such is the array of fields that the little people, big dreamers have achieved in.
Presented in chronological order and broken down into five historical periods each containing ten notable figures grouped by year of birth, the book begins with Mary Shelley, born in 1797, and concludes with Greta Thunberg, born in 2003. Each person is introduced over four pages that feature a detailed bio, full page portrait, a quote and a double page timeline that includes artwork and photographs.
Whatever children want to be when they grow-up they will find a story to relate to and to take inspiration from. Filled with empowering and important messages, the stories do not just focus on the positives, the author is not afraid to tell children the way it is and that at times life isn’t always easy or fair, in fact it can really suck. The trials and tribulations, highs and lows, the successes and the failures are all written about, this includes traumatic and upsetting events that are handled sensitively and worded in a way that is ‘child-friendly’. What ultimately shines through in all the stories is that nothing is impossible, every challenge is just something that is waiting to be overcome, every injustice is just waiting for someone to put it right.
Published in hard back with thick, gold edged pages and a stylish black ribbon page marker, this is a definite keepsake, a book to treasure, and it will be finding a home in my ‘very special books’ section on the bookshelf. It belongs in every home, library and classroom as it is sure to enrich the lives of every reader.
Children need to know that no matter where you are from, whatever your background, whatever your gender, whatever your race, whatever your religion, anything can be achieved when you dare to dream. The fifty profiled figures are testament to this, and the many challenges that they overcame, the barriers that they tore down and the social stereotypes that they challenged can inspire us all to make a difference to the world in one way or another.
So little people, dream big, follow your hearts and proudly write yourselves into the history books.
With huge thanks to Allen & Unwin and Frances Lincoln Children's for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommend for 7+.