An Interview with Andy Andrews: The Boy Who Changed the World
9.18.10 – Michael F. Shaughnessy – I wrote The Boy Who Changed the World so children can have proof that everything they do matters. Everyone always says that encouragement is great. It is, but I think proof is better. The story in this book proves that a child’s life is full of unlimited potential.
Michael F. Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico
1) Andy, I know your book is entitled “The Boy Who Changed the World” but isn’t it really about helping kids grow, develop and use their potential?
I wrote The Boy Who Changed the World so children can have proof that everything they do matters. Everyone always says that encouragement is great. It is, but I think proof is better. The story in this book proves that a child’s life is full of unlimited potential.
2) Andy, who should be doing the encouraging that kids need? Parents, teachers, coaches, ministers, Boy Scout leaders or all of the above?
We all need to go beyond simply encouraging kids. As I said earlier, encouragement is good but proof is better. Let’s find ways to prove to our children that their actions matter. That being said, anyone and everyone in a position to encourage a child should do so. But let’s strive for proof.
3) How can we help kids find meaning and purpose in life?
By being examples for them. We need to be sure we’re living our lives with meaning and purpose so they have a good example.
4) How can teachers help them find something that they are passionate about and want to learn?
Reading is a great way to find your passion and explore possibilities. Getting kids reading is a great way to set them on the right path.
5) Your book is also a mini-history lesson- tell us about some of the characters.
The boy in the book is a real person named Norman Borlaug who grew up to win a Nobel Prize by hybridizing corn and wheat for arid climates. By doing so, he has saved an estimated 2 billion lives from starvation. And that number is still growing today. George Washington Carver, who has an amazing story, is also in the book. My family actually has a dog, Carver, that we named after him.
6) Your book is also about the importance of adults recognizing potential. Do teachers do enough of this?
Well, teachers are in a tough position. They truly do have one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. Obviously, there are some teachers who recognize a child’s potential more than others. I think the best thing for them to do is to remember that every child has an equal amount of potential, regardless of their academic abilities.
7) What would you say are some of the lessons of the book?
The greatest lesson of the book is that every action a person does has tremendous value. We tend to overlook or miss out on the value of even our smallest, everyday actions.
Where can people get a copy of the book? Is it available on line?
Yes, you can order a copy online from AndyAndrews.com or find it in any major bookstore.
9) What have I neglected to ask?
Actually, we have a school curriculum that was just developed for The Boy Who Changed the World that is available for free download at AndyAndrews.com/Education. I think teachers will love it. It’s for Pre-K – Second Grade and is full of activities relating to the book.
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