• Picture Book Snob

True tales of incredible teamwork

How to Change the World by Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Annabel Tempest

How to Change the World by Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Annabel Tempest

This is a sensational book that I've been meaning to review for ages. As there's so much amazing information packed into every page, I wasn't sure where to begin! I'm not going to go into too much detail, as you can get the book for that, but here's a brief summary...

How to Change the World features 15 fantastic stories of people coming together and having a positive impact on their fellow humans, endangered animals and the environment. This book takes readers travelling around the world, and through time, as ancient and more recent accomplishments are celebrated. There’s just enough text to inform kids and keep them interested, without overloading them.


Advances in women's rights are covered by the fight for suffrage, the matchwomen's strike of 1888 and the tree planters of Piplanti in India. Environmental change is explored through movements to save the whales and protect the ozone layer. Scientific breakthroughs are championed through the International Space Station and the success of the polio vaccine.

How to Change the World by Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Annabel Tempest

We see the incredible things communities can build as we learn about the Egyptian pyramids. Feats of democracy and freedom are demonstrated through tales of ancient Greece and the singing revolution of Estonia. Monumental developments in human rights, such as the Montgomery bus boycott, the abolition of slavery and the campaigns for fairer trade and marriage equality are also included. The events and people featured are fascinating and inspirational. Dynamic and intricate illustrations support the text wonderfully and bring each story to life. This is a beautifully uplifting book, filled with tales of triumph, and the images alone are powerful enough to raise the spirits of its readers. The combination of captivating facts and arresting illustrations makes this a spectacular book and an excellent resource for schools as well as homes.

How to Change the World by Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Annabel Tempest

I'm ashamed to admit I learned A LOT from How to Change the World. While I was vaguely aware of some of the stories, I didn't know all of the details, and so much information was entirely new to me. It's impossible to list all the knowledge I gleaned from this book, but here are five of my highlights:

1. The Tree Planters of Piplanti

Piplanti is a village in India where 111 trees are planted every time a girl is born. Parents promise to send the girls to school until they are 18, while villagers and parents club together to pay for the girls' education.


2. The 1965 Freedom Ride This civil rights movement in Australia was the beginning of the campaign for equal rights for indigenous people.


3. The singing revolution of Estonia

This involved a music festival and a human chain over 400 miles long, with people holding hands in peaceful protest against Soviet occupation.

How to Change the World by Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Annabel Tempest

4. The Matchwomen’s Strike of 1888

1,400 women walked out of a factory in protest against the terrible working conditions such as being penalised for needing to use the toilet.


5. The Montgomery Bus Boycott

I had heard of Rosa Parks but didn't know the whole story, including how carpools were banned and Martin Luther King's home was bombedin response to the boycott. Discover more about all of these events and lots of other historical landmarks in How to Change the World by Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Annabel Tempest. About the author: Rashmi Sirdeshpande is a lawyer turned children's author, with two young children who ask her lots of questions. Rashmi writes non-fiction picture books that ignite children's curiosity, as well as fictional stories that crackle with imagination. When she's not playing with words, you'll find Rashmi on her yoga mat twisting herself into all sort of shapes. You can see more of her books on her website.

About the illustrator:

Annabel Tempest always knew she wanted to grow up to be an artist. Nothing makes her more excited than a pile of paper and a seriously sharp pencil. Annabel has created many beautifully colourful books, and she lives in the countryside with her husband and a house full of muddy boys and dogs. You can find more of her work on her website.

How to Change the World by Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Annabel Tempest

How to Change the World was published by Penguin in January 2021 - see this book on the publisher's website