NONFICTION

You Are Awesome

Jabberwocky. Jul. 2019. 160p. further reading. ­index. websites. Sourcebooks/. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781492687535.
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Gr 4-6–Two-time table tennis British Olympian Syed demonstrates his thoughts on the power and importance of fulfilling your potential and setting goals. Syed has an engaging writing style that avoids condescension. Fun facts, statistics, quotes, and stories of hard work and perseverance from “Famous Failures” are featured. Topics include Syed’s method of overcoming a fixed mind-set and replacing it with a growth mind-set, how to set marginal goals in order to achieve larger goals, how to avoid “choking,” brain science, and the complexities of the “rock, paper, scissors” game. While Syed’s journey to competing as an Olympic athlete and the Great British women’s field hockey team’s Olympic victory are highlighted, examples from the arts, the entertainment industry, science, and classic literature are also included. Syed’s belief that anyone can get good at something, and his explanation of his process, is realistic and encouraging. Discussion questions, a short list of recommended books, and online resources are included, although no research is cited.
VERDICT While this enthusiastic book offers entertaining anecdotes and helpful and concrete suggestions, librarians and educators may have to convince readers to recognize its potential. Buy if motivational books with up-to-date pop culture references and examples for middle school students are needed

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