If you could meet anyone in your community, who would you pick?
Joe Rhatigan encourages young people to explore that question in his book, People You Gotta Meet Before You Grow Up: Get to Know the Movers and Shakers, Heroes and Hotshots in Your Hometown.
I’ll admit that one of my favorite things about this book is the notion that there are movers and shakers, heroes and hotshots in every hometown. In a culture that confounds celebrity and importance, I’m all for anything that helps young people understand they are surrounded by interesting individuals who are neither top athletes nor movie stars. People You Gotta Meet challenges young people to interview community members from scientists to animal trainers, crafters, chefs, environmentalists, librarians, scientists, volunteers, and many more.
Each category begins with an explanation of ways that type of person is interesting, and includes suggestions for finding someone to interview, and the kinds of questions the interviewer might pursue. The book also includes general guidelines for conducting a good interview, which can be particularly helpful for any group involved in local history or other interview studies.
People You Gotta Meet would make a wonderful class project or summer family adventure. It is a chance to develop and pursue curiosity, as well as explore options for careers or hobbies. Perhaps most of all, it says, “The world out there is interesting. People around you are interesting. If you just take time to explore, you’ll be amazed what you find.”
What better message could we send creative young people? Read and enjoy!