Even More Fantastic Failures: True Stories of People Who Changed the World by Falling Down First

Beyond Words/Aladdin. Sept. 2020. 304p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781582707341.
Gr 5-8–In his follow-up to Fantastic Failures, Reynolds profiles 30 successful individuals, including Barack Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Beyoncé, and Mindy Kaling. The text explains the struggles, disappointments, losses, and failures these public figures overcame to achieve success. Each person’s entry begins with a fictional account of how the person was successful from the start. Following this hypothetical, idealized scenario, the text details the real obstacles that led to their success, often emphasized by personal quotes expressing gratitude for the difficulties. Although this format could become tiresome for some, the variety of stories and experiences keeps readers’ attention. Sidebars spotlighting interesting failures that became surprising successes (Post-its, WD-40, Ben & Jerry’s) are included throughout the text. Reynolds’s love for students comes through in the personal, caring tone of his writing. The well-designed table of contents allows for quick browsing. A list of thought-provoking questions, which could be useful in the hands of a skilled teacher, concludes the title.
VERDICT These narratives examining successful people overcoming setbacks and long odds are encouraging and contain a lot of information to flesh out biography reports. Look no further for a collective biography to inspire middle schoolers to keep trying.

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