Three children who changed the world in 2020

Heroes: Emmie, Jackson and Bellen used their different talents to make the world a better place.

Are you ever too young to make a difference? Three young people have used their different talents to stand up for their rights, care for people and make scientific breakthroughs.

What’s happening

Emmie Narayan-Nicholas was diagnosed with cancer when she was eight. She spent years in and out of hospital.

But she also decided to help others by bringing them homecooked meals so they would not feel homesick. She soon founded a charity. In October, she was named 2020’s “Child of Courage”.

Find out more

Today, Emmie is free of cancer and her charity is going strong. During lockdown, she provided over 400 takeaway meals to families in her local hospital.

But she is not the only young person to change the world this year. Jackson Oswalt became the youngest person to achieve nuclear fusion. He made the breakthrough aged 12. Jackson has been doing more research and hopes to make new discoveries soon. He is excited to appear in the 2021 Guinness World Records.

Ten-year-old Bellen Woodard loves colouring, but noticed that the “skin coloured” crayons at school were all pale pink. So, she decided to create her own collection. Bellen’s project “More than Peach” has now spread to schools across the US.

Are you ever too young to change the world?

Some say…

No! Whether it is science, fighting for equality or helping others, you are never too young to make the world a better place. These three are the proof. And they are not the only ones. Louis Braille was 12 when he started making his reading system for blind people. Greta Thunberg was 15 when she started protesting.

Others think…

We should not put pressure on young people to make huge discoveries or change hundreds of lives. That is not for everyone. It is just as important to focus on the small things, like being kind to your friends or supporting your family. These might not be world-changing acts, but they have much larger effects than you might think at first.

You Decide

  1. Is it more important to help others or make scientific discoveries?

Activities

  1. Imagine you are meeting one of the children from the story. Think of five things you would like to ask them.

Some People Say...

“Be you. Brilliant.”

Bellen Woodard, 10, crayon activist

What do you think?

Word Watch

Diagnosed
To find out that someone has a disease, or to discover what an unknown illness is.
Child of Courage
A special award given to an inspirational young person at the Pride of Britain Awards. Marcus Rashford also won a prize at this year’s awards.
Nuclear fusion
A kind of physics reaction that produces a lot of energy without producing any dangerous waste. It could be an important way to make green electricity in the future.
Guinness World Records
A book published every year listing achievements of humans, as well as extremes in the natural world.
Louis Braille
He developed a system of reading and writing for other blind people that is used around the world today. Braille’s original system is almost identical today as it was when he made it in the 1800s.

Subjects

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