Ben was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1951. When he was eight years old, his parents divorced, leaving his mother to care for Ben and his younger brother, Curtis, by herself. Their mother had to work several jobs to make enough money to provide for her small family. Times were tough and the family had to move around several times in order for them to survive.
This meant Ben and his brother had to change schools several times in their young lives. After a move to Boston, Ben and his brother went to a small, private school in Detroit, where they both did well and were ahead of most of their classmates. But, after the family moved back to Detroit, the boys discovered their previous education had been inadequate and they were behind most of the other students in their classes. This led to teasing and tormenting from them, and Ben was called the “class dummy.” He almost let that defeat him.
But, he developed an interest in science, and was fascinated by rocks. He read everything he could get his hands on about the subject. When his science teacher brought in a rock, a piece of obsidian, Ben was the only student in the class who could identify it. Ben, and his teachers, discovered that Ben had a special aptitude for learning, especially when he read about something. He used his love of reading, and his special talent for learning by reading, to eventually excel in his studies, not only in grade school and high school, but also in college. Ben went on to be a neurosurgeon and has become the leader in his field.
In telling Ben’s story, the author touches on the issues divorce and single-parenting, as well as racism that Ben had to deal with growing up. But, Ben was raised by a Christian mother who taught her boys the love of God and the desire to live a good Christian life. The underlying theme throughout the book was Ben’s reliance on God and his belief that God wanted him to be a doctor.
What I Like: Everything. This is a truly inspiring story. Even though it was written for children, I very much enjoyed reading it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I want to read more about this incredible man.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: 9-12.
Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2009; ISBN: 9780310719038; Paperback, 142 pages, $5.99.
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