The Blurb On The Back:
Silence is never an option – stand up, speak out, be the difference.
In his non-fiction debut, Stuart Lawrence talks about what he had learned from life – the tools that have helped him live positively and kept him moving forwards when times have been tough.
From role models to self-control, failure to imagination, Stuart uses his own experience to help young people – to help all people – harness the good in themselves and in the world around them, using that fire of positivity to create change in their lives.
You can buy SILENCE IS NOT AN OPTION: YOU CAN IMPACT THE WORLD FOR CHANGE by Stuart Lawrence from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK. I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
Stuart Lawrence is a former teacher turned motivational speaker and specialist in youth engagement. He’s also the younger brother of Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in a 1993 racist attack. This is a thoughtful and at times moving self-help book for children aged 10+ that draws on Lawrence’s own experiences to discuss self-control, confidence, developing passions, having ambition, life-long learning, wealth and privilege.
Lawrence’s purpose in writing this book is to give young readers the tools they need to lead successful, happy and positive lives. In essence, it’s a self-help book and one that is quite broad in scope and which draws on the tragedy that touched Lawrence’s own life following the murder of his older brother, Stephen. The sections where he discusses his brother and the impact of his death on both himself and his family is moving and it gives his advice to youngsters a heartfelt quality that brings a greater impact.
The advice sections are quite general and seem pretty sensible, such as choosing role models, working out what you’re good at and what you’re interested in, setting goals, developing your self-confidence, being kind and humble. He also talks about privilege and learning from others and from your own failures, which I think are all positive things for young people to learn about.
Particularly interesting is that he’s willing to talk about wealth and what that means and what those who are lucky to make a lot of money should consider doing with it. He makes clear that money isn’t the be-all-and-end-all and that health, experiences and friendship are more fulfilling but also talks about the importance of saving and giving back, which is not something I’ve seen before in books of this type aimed at children. It’s pragmatic advice and given that kids are interested in money, I think it will find a receptive audience.
Lawrence has a fluid writing style without any hint of condescension. I think younger readers will find the book easy and interesting to follow, not least because the graphic design of the book is very well thought out and helps to illustrate and reinforce the key messages.
If I had one criticism of the book it’s that all of the role models/famous people referred to in the book are male. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that – it makes sense in the context of the sections that his role model as a child was John Barnes, that he admired and met Nelson Mandela and that Marcus Rashford has done good work for disadvantaged children during the COVID pandemic but it’s a shame that Lawrence couldn’t find any female role models or celebrities to illustrate any of his points.
All in all though, I thought that this was a solid book and while some people may be sniffy at the idea of a self-help book for children, I think that there are many young readers who will benefit from it. This is because it talks about topics that some children may not otherwise feel confident about discussing with friends or family and encourages them to find people to help them while working to improve themselves and their future and in my opinion, this is a good thing.
SILENCE IS NOT AN OPTION: YOU CAN IMPACT THE WORLD FOR CHANGE will be released in the United Kingdom on 1st April 2021. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.