Ok, there have been a lot of twists on the Empowering stories especially in STEM for girls and for boys of healthy masculinity but this is definitely something different altogether.
Whilst certainly this is riding the Environmentalism trend (in a good way!) it also has a wonderful mix of conservation, history and politics and a sense of humility.
Often when we think of animals it tends to be in a basic or primal manner as humans are often encouraged to see themselves as more evolved or greater than animals. However this book takes those concepts and strips virtues back showing how animals have been just as capable of expression, courage and kindness and how others have changed our perspectives not only of particular species but of how we should view and care for animals, and how others have helped change history too.
Some stories are uplifting such as the symbiotic salvation that a streetcar called Bob and his owner James gave each other, some are amazing in reading of a Lioness caring for baby antelopes.
Some make us question what it really means to be human when we see a chimpanzee making art and some are heart touching in the dedication and sacrifice of animals for mankind such as Rescue animals.
Many of the stories are tinged with sadness of the ways that animals have been mistreated in the past from Keiko the Orca who starred in Free Willy to Elsa and Christian the lions and there is much to ponder and question regarding why it takes an extraordinary animal to change perspectives of just a single way to be good stewards of the earth.
Throughout the book is an utmost respect for the incredible animals and the lives they led all over the world from Polish soldier bear to Alaskan Huskies, Australian koalas and Thai Elephants.
It’s a wonderful book that I Hope makes it into many homes and libraries because it will make the reader gasp, smile, ask questions, sometimes sad or determined to create change but ultimately foster a respect and love for animals and our relationship with them.
Wild Lives 50 Extraordinary Animals That Made History by Ben Lerwill & Sarah Walsh is published by Nosy Crow