AUDIO: You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed

Review published on July 5, 2018.

An encouraging and entertaining child-friendly look at promoting determination, resilience and ambition.

My seven year old might be slightly too young for this, but he did listen with me and discuss it a little in the car. I was interested to hear if the author could talk to young people on their level about some quite mature issues.

From the offset, I was impressed. The imagery used, Syed’s chatty tone (he narrates himself) with the reader, lots of questions and examples, and his own real-life story all combined to make this very relatable.

With terms such as ‘mindset’ and ‘neural pathway’, it’s never going to be easy keeping the attention of a young reader/listener, and I did check with my son as we went along that he was understanding everything. I’m pretty sure some of it went over his head, but really, it’s the sort of book that I’d want him to revisit when he’s slightly more older and some of the concepts are more relevant, when school/hobbies become more of a challenge and he needs some motivation to continue and succeed.

The story of Syed’s own ‘awesome vs average’ journey is interspersed with real sportspersons and high achievers and the author makes it abundantly clear that it’s through hard work and effort, and not good genetic luck and natural ability, that they reached the heights they did. I approve of this message wholeheartedly and appreciated his relevant examples – my boy’s ears pricked up at the mention of footballers.

It is motivating, funny and worked very well on audiobook. My son even liked the Queen titles as chapter headings (he’s a burgeoning fan!). The style suited a listening format, lots of chat and interactive sections where the listener is asked questions. Syed made an effective narrator as well, a clear speaker and engaging.

The ideal age for a reader would be 9-13, and both boys and girls will find this persuasive stuff.

Katy Noyes 5/3

You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed
Wren & Rook B07CQ2F6ZF audiobook May 2018

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