Book Review: The Boy Who Changed the World by Andy Andrews

Title: The Boy Who Changed the World
Author: Andy Andrews
Publisher: Thomas Nelson/Tommy Nelson (2010)

Andy Andrews is an author who desires to inspire. In the last book of his I read, The Noticer (reviewed here), Andrews sought to show readers how a bit of perspective on their circumstances can completely change their outlook on life. In his latest, The Boy Who Changed the World (a children’s book), Andrews seeks to encourage young readers to make the most of their lives.

Andrews quickly tells the stories of four men: Norman Borlaug, a farm boy from Iowa who grew up to develop a seed that has helped feed billions of people; Henry Wallace, 33rd Vice President of the United States who, as a boy, loved learning about plants and, as an adult, hired Borlaug to develop his “super seed;” George Washington Carver, a student who taught Wallace all about plants (and later became a teacher & scientist who discovered 266 different things you can do with peanuts); and Moses Carver, a farmer who rescued young George from bandits who’d burned down Carver’s barn and raised George as his own son.

As Andrews shows, each one affected the others in ways that none of them could have anticipated. If Moses hadn’t rescued George, George would never have gone on to teach Henry about plants. And if Henry hadn’t learned about plants, he’d never have gone on to be the Secretary of Agriculture and then Vice President, and he’d never have hired Norman to develop his super seed.

In these inspirational tales, Andrews wants children to know one thing: “Your life matters more than you know.” This is a good message for children (and adults, too).It’s a reminder that the decisions we make have far reaching consequences, for good and bad; you never know what’s going to happen because chose to serve in the children’s ministry at your church. You never know the impact of a great teacher or even a dad who spends real quality time with his kids.

Because the book (like all of Andrews’ books) is designed to inspire broadly, it’s a strong moral message. Where The Boy Who Changed the World falls flat is that because it’s so focused on inspiring kids to see how their lives matter, (“God made your life so important…”), if taken alone, the message can leave kids (and adults) thinking, “Wow, God made me really special. I must be really something,” but miss the fact that He does so for His glory and not our own.

All that said, I did enjoy The Boy Who Changed the World and am comfortable sharing with my daughters. I believe that parents will, overall, find the book helpful and be able to use it to encourage discussion as a family about how God might use each of us to make an impact in our communities and (maybe) the world.

An electronic copy of this book was provided for review purposes by the publishers