Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

10 Leaders Who Changed the World

10 Leaders Who Changed the World

Clive Gifford
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 10 to 13
Kingfisher, 2008   ISBN: 978-0753461044

At certain points in time in our history, special people have stepped into the limelight to lead their people, and to take on a challenge. The actions of these leaders often had a profound effect not only on their own countrymen and women, but also on people in other countries as well.

In this book we will get to meet ten people who changed the world in tangible ways for good, and for ill. We begin with Mohandas Gandhi, an Indian who trained to be a lawyer, and who worked in this chosen profession for a number of years in South Africa. Gandhi was appalled when he saw how his fellow Indians immigrants were being treated by the whites who governed the country. Gandhi came up with the idea of Satyagraha, a form of nonviolent protest, and he was joined by thousands of Indians who marched peacefully and who refused to obey “unfair laws.” Gandhi then returned to India and encouraged his people to join him in “campaigns of noncooperation against British rule.”

Another young man who became a world leader, Winston Churchill, also began his career in South Africa. Working as a journalist covering the Boer War, Churchill was captured by the Boers, escaped, and became a celebrity when he went back home to Britain. Riding on a wave of interest in his exploits, Churchill became a member of parliament. Later he went on to become a cabinet minister, the leader of the Royal Navy during World War I, and the chancellor of the exchequer. He was one of the few people who felt very strongly that the rise of Hitler was a danger to everyone, and he criticized the appeasement policies of the British government. Then in 1930, Churchill became the Prime Minister, and he went on to serve his country with distinction during World War II.

Other men whose lives, and influence, were affected by World War II were Charles de Gaulle of France and Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the United States. Like Winston Churchill, both men were called upon to lead their people through a terrible ordeal. They had to face powerful enemies, and overcome personal challenges to save their countries from disaster.

Wonderfully written and packed with interesting pieces of information, this excellent title not only tells the story of ten extraordinary world leaders, but readers will also see how these ten people were associated in some way. It is interesting to see how the thread of connection runs through the book.

Throughout the book, the text is broken up by annotated illustrations, and at the back of the book. there are brief biographies of four other world leaders.