Prather’s Pick: A book about making a difference |

Prather’s Pick: A book about making a difference

Prather's Picks

“The Boy Who Changed the World,” a picture book for children, was written by Andy Andrews and illustrated by Philip Hurst. The book was inspired by the “butterfly effect.”

Environmental scientists often write/talk about the “butterfly effect.” It’s the belief that when a butterfly flaps its wings it moves tiny pieces of air. That doesn’t seem like much, but it causes other tiny pieces of air to move still other pieces of air… and so forth. As a result, a “whoosh of the wind” might be felt on the other side of the world.

So the author of this week’s book applied the same idea to human activity. He believes that what we did yesterday, what we do today, and what we do tomorrow matters not only to us but to others, in ways we could never have guessed. That’s what this week’s nonfiction book for children is all about.

There once was a boy named Norman Borlaug who lived on the family farm in Iowa. He and his sisters played hide-and-seek in the cornfield. He looked out over the acres of corn and remembered how his father had told him that many of the worlds’ people don’t have enough to eat. It was then that Norman decided to change the world.

Norman studied about plants in school, and when he grew up he worked for Mr. Wallace who challenged him to develop special seeds that would grow into super plants to feed more people. As a result, Norman developed special corn, wheat, and rice seeds that were sent all over the world. More than two billion people were saved from starvation.

Norman was the boy who changed the world, but before him was a boy named Henry Wallace. He was the son of a professor. One of the grown-up students was George who befriended the young Henry. He taught Henry all about plants. Eventually Henry became United States Secretary of Agriculture. (He became a U.S. vice president, too.) Henry Wallace challenged Norman Borlaug to develop the special seeds. So was it Henry who changed the world?

But what about George? He’s the college student who showed six-year-old Henry all about plants. He was George Washington Carver who went on to develop products from peanuts and sweet potatoes.

Norman couldn’t have developed the special seeds without Henry, but Henry was influenced by George. And then there was Moses…

This is a thought-provoking book about making a difference. It is beautifully-illustrated with butterflies on nearly every page.

The book was published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2010. The hardcover book costs $16.99. The author also wrote “The Butterfly Effect,” a children’s picture book.

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