How to Change the World in 12 Easy Steps Written by Peggy Porter Tierney and Illustrated by Marie Letourneau (with teaching ideas)

Publication Date: October 19, 2021 Age Levels: 4-8

Happy November! I cannot believe we’re already here! I hope you are having a great day! If you’re looking for a book that will help young children think about all the ways they can treat people kindly, How to Change the World in 12 Easy Steps is for you!

Quick summary. Inspired by the story of Eva Mozes Kor, a Holocaust survivor, How to Change the World in 12 Easy Steps starts with a question: “Did you know you have the power to change the world?” and then takes readers on a journey through different vignettes in which children do kind acts for others.

Critique. I love how the book starts with such a simple question that makes readers of all ages think. Letourneau‘s illustrations are stunning, and I especially love the bus scene. Part of me wanted the directness of the book’s earlier pages to continue at the book’s end where the important topic of forgiveness is discussed. Nevertheless, I loved how Tierney‘s words and Letourneau’s illustrations worked together beautifully!

Teaching Ideas. Here are some teaching ideas to go along with How to Change the World in 12 Easy Steps:

  • We know that digital storytelling can help all writers, and this Reading Rockets resource discusses the ways digital storytelling may help the writers who need the most support. This SEEDS Network page includes a video about the power of digital storytelling with young children and a student work example fo a digital story about apples. Using the apples video as a mentor texts, encourage your students to photograph a scene in which they, their peers, or their families members are answering the question: How do I / we change the world? Tools like Book Creator or Animoto may be really helpful here.
  • Ask students to create a text set around the essential question How do humans change the world? by finding other books that help answer this question. Books like Zee Grows a Tree, The Starkeeper, and In a Jar come to mind, but I know there are so many other titles out there! Once students have collected 2-3 books in addition to How to Changes the World in 12 Easy Steps, ask them to create a digital library that includes the books’ covers and then leads viewers to a brief video made in YouTube or another tool. This video would include a brief review of the book and a rationale for how the book helped to answer the essential question. (Special thanks to The Techie Teacher for ideas.)

A beautifully-illustrated book that will inspire us all to be kinder, How to Change the World in 12 Easy Steps earns four stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to the Mellon Foundation for providing funding for this digital humanities-infused post.

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