How to be the best you can be
There are very few positives that have come out of this Covid-19 pandemic, but one of them is the emergence of footballer Marcus Rashford as a role model for children. Well, everyone really. Besides being a successful footballer with Manchester United and England, Marcus campaigned against child hunger and homelessness and he forced the government to change its mind with regard to food vouchers for disadvantaged children. His philanthropic ventures earned him an MBE medal in 2020.
Coming from a humble background himself, Rashford uses his platform to help children in another way, too. As he didn't read properly until he was seventeen, he wrote this self-help book (with the aid of a journalist Carl Anka) to help promote a book club in order to help underprivileged children enjoy the 'escapism of reading'. He plans to distribute 50,000 free books with the aid of MacMillan Publishers via the book club. A role model indeed.
This book is aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, many of whom are exactly like Rashford was at their age. He tells of his own childhood, how it was difficult for his large family to deal with day to day issues and how they coped with the help of each other. At this pivotal age as children enter secondary school, Rashford shows how they can reach their potential by shaping their own destiny via acceptance, goal setting, learning and hard work. He demonstrates what he did as a child to help him reach the dream of playing for his favourite football team.
The use of different types and sizes of fonts along with dynamic illustrations makes this an easy book to read. Children will identify with it, especially those who have done something a little bit naughty, as Rashford uses his mischievous capers as life lessons. Warm and homely, I can see young people wanting to read this book because it is written by a very successful footballer. The advantage is that this is their self-help book.
I don't know how many readers will end up as successful as Marcus Rashford, but if they take on half of what he says, they will make a great start and develop a good attitude to life. The only thing wrong with Rashford is that he plays for Manchester United instead of Liverpool. But hey, you can't have everything in life.
Recommended for all secondary school-aged people, and beyond.
Winner of the British Book of the Year Award 2022 (Overall Winner and Children's Non-fiction Book of the Year)
Published by MacMillan's Children's Books on 27 May 2021.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.