We’ve all seen famous figures standing up for what they believe in, making a difference, appearing powerful in their capacity to stand strong for a cause they support. But how can we pluck up the courage to face seemingly impossible obstacles and fight for justice?

There is a wide range of inspirational leaders who have tackled civil rights, feminism, and scientific thought throughout history. Most have used their individual skills to make a visible difference showing that “It doesn’t matter if [you’re] a president or a slave, a queen or a teenager, each one of [you] has the chance to make a difference.”[1]

Well-known as well as unsung heroes have spoken up for what they believe in in years gone by. We could look at Maya Angelou; she had a troubled childhood following the divorce of her parents, and became a single mother at 17, which meant she had to work three jobs to make ends meet. When she got older she joined Martin Luther King’s black civil-rights movement and organised fundraisers to battle inequality just before Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were assassinated. Angelou was devastated by their deaths, but in response she decided to fight harder, sharing her experience via an autobiography, which emphasised, among other things, the problems of a segregated society. How do you think Maya Angelou would have fought injustice today?

What about Stephen Hawking? Despite discovering that he had an irreversible, life-changing illness, Motor Neurone Disease, he was determined to carry on with his study of cosmology. Doctors predicted that Hawking didn’t have long to live, but he defied all predictions. After being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, as Einstein and Darwin had been before him, Hawking went on to make cosmology accessible to readers that weren’t trained in physics by writing books that inspired many others to take an interest in science. He also challenged all limitations of having a disability. How do you think Hawking would tackle an obstacle you’re facing?

Whether it has an impact on a whole country or on just one individual, standing up for what you believe in is brave. If you stand out from the crowd and stand by your actions you can inspire others, whilst moulding your character and developing yourself as a person. Take heart by studying how strong rebellious heroes have overcome past obstacles and apply this strength to a personal injustice.

Stand Up, Stand Out! has been created by Carlton Books to inspire children to challenge any obstacles they might face. This book compares everyday scenarios with the fighting spirits of 25 rebel heroes from all over the globe.

Through reading this book, children can learn how to stand up and stand out by relating their personal struggles to the trials rebel heroes have had to face in the past. Prompted by questions in the book, kids can ask themselves how inspirational figures would have reacted to the issues of today such as language barriers, homework, sibling rivalry and following your dreams. Also included inside is a quiz that children can take to find out which rebel hero they most represent!

Kay Woodward, the author of Stand Up, Stand Out! says: “Some of the rebels in this book are well known. Some less so. But while I was writing it, I was amazed time and time again at their astonishing stories. At first glance, this is a collection of 25 biographies about amazing people. But the theme running through it, like a message through Brighton rock, is one of courage. These people weren’t afraid to stand up for what they believed in and they weren’t afraid to speak out about it either.”

Standing up and standing out enables children to take on injustice and realise that they can overcome anything, even if it initially seems impossible.


[1] Stand Up, Stand Out!, Kay Woodward, pg. 6

Stand Up, Stand Out! is published by Carlton Books in the UK. Thank you, Carlton Books, for donating 16 copies of the book to the low-income and at-risk kids CLiF serves!

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