Meet Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who hopes the things she’s done will help everyone, especially children, to believe that they can do great things too.
The newest member in the series of Puffin books which celebrate awesome NZer’s “Taking the Lead – How Jacinda Ardern Wowed the World” shares her path to leadership with our own little trailblazers. From her learning to drive in a tractor to her concerns for the welfare of others as a school kid, to volunteering to help with political campaigns, traveling the world as the President of the International Union of Socialist Youth, becoming a member of NZ parliament, then Prime Minister… then a new mum! It’s certainly a storyline that follows the path of a young girl going places to a woman who’s still going, and as we all know, where to is less important as the journey itself and the things we do along the way.
Being the Mum of two boys who without any direction from me naturally gravitate towards what’s considered the typical interests of boys – cars, dinosaurs, dragons, ninjas and garbage trucks, I was quite interested to see how much interest they’d have in reading a story about the current prime Minister of NZ, Jacinda Ardern. One of the boys has just turned 3, and the other is heading towards 6, neither of them have a political persuasion, I’m not even sure if the eldest one even knows the name of our Prime Minister. I do know that the elder one found a glass bottle at the beach last night and dutifully bought it to me to be recycled and just this morning carried a small cockroach out of the house because he didn’t want to hurt it by throwing it out of the window. I went along with this kind gesture not daring to mention that I had in fact killed it about an hour earlier. Sorry. His little brother also oblivious to the cockroach’s death was in fact the child who drove the (dead) cockroach to us in the scoop of a small digger. I’ve concluded that the boys are kids, who aren’t keen to hurt insects, or litter the beach. Is that exclusive to the Green Party? I’ve concluded that we can’t conclude political leanings for kids, with that in mind we read the book and you’ll probably be pleased to learn that this kids book about how Jacinda Ardern wowed the world isn’t political. This is a story of a person who had a passion and got on with it.
Most kids relate to stories which include characters they can relate to, which can be true for my eldest boy, looking for the “boy” or “male” character to connect to, so in this case, alike the Dinosaur Hunter I wasn’t certain how he’d relate to the story. I ought to stop being surprised when he’s fully engaged from beginning to end! He’s growing up and has nearly a year’s worth of school under his belt now and he took great interest in each little anecdote, full of chatter and questions about the girl that would become Prime Minister, a mum and meet the Queen of England!
We follow Jacinda’s path hearing how she went to school with kids who didn’t have the things they ought to, and she wanted to help them. We hear how she volunteered and worked helping many people, like politicians in campaigns and cabinets, worked for human rights and equal opportunities for children with the International Union of Socialist Youth, and helped in a soup kitchen in New York for people without homes or food. We hear about Jacinda being a DJ, meeting Clarke her partner, and also my 6 year olds favourite scene when they seemingly take Paddles the cat on a fishing boat and Neve their baby to the United Nations in New York… when they’re not reading to her at the weekend. Told in bite sized anecdotes and colourful illustrations to keep even the younger one turning the pages.
We can all appreciate the causes for which Jacinda is passionate bout, helping those in need, working hard for human rights, equal opportunities for children, ending poverty, improving women’s working lives, free education and fighting climate change. We can also appreciate the common theme throughout the book about finding your passion, your cause, even if it’s to be a clown, and take and make the best of each step along that path. Even if people laugh, or tell you you’re too girly or can’t be a mum and do your job well, you can just get on with it and maybe one day you might end up with an image of yourself shone on the world’s tallest building like Jacinda, or maybe make a bunch of kids squeal in delight as a clown! Whatever your kids take the lead in, Taking the Lead – How Jacinda Ardern Wowed the World encourages them to believe they can do great things too.
Where does your child take the lead?
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Written by Ronnie Swainston
Online Producer & Experiences Editor Ronnie is mum to two spirited kids who keep her on her toes. With a love for travel, film, tv, photography & food and having a keen curiosity means she’ll give almost anything a go, making her and her family up for the experiences job!
Favourite place to be: On an adventure