Review

Billabong Boy

No-one can do everything, but everyone can do something.

Arron Wood

Product details

Product name: Billabong Boy

Reviewer: Kate Arneman

Author: Arron Wood

Publisher: New Holland

Price: $24.95

G Rating:

5

Arron Wood is only 34 but has already made his mark as an environmental educator and activist in Australia and beyond. In 2001 this boy from Mildura was named Young Australian of the Year (Environment); in 2006 he received the United Nations Award for Outstanding Services to the Environment. Last Friday, Wood became the recipient of the highly-coveted 2010 People’s Choice Award at the Banksia Environment Awards for his creation of the Kids Teaching Kids educational program.

Wood describes the focal point of his career as the development of Kids Teaching Kids in collaboration with experienced educators, including his father. The program encourages pupils to take responsibility for their own learning. Other critical elements are an emphasis on involving the whole individual - 'heart, head and hand' - and ensuring that learning results in action. The program has been used at Wood's Kids Conferences and in schools across the country as well as South Korea, New Zealand and the US.

This moving autobiography explains how Wood's experiences at school, knowledge gained from his parents (his Dad is a former primary school principal and his mum is a social worker) and other life experiences contributed to the success of Kids Teaching Kids.

Woods writes candidly about battling depression and anxiety in his mid-twenties, a period when, ironically, he was reaping all kinds of accolades for his work. In today's culture of confession, it is easy to become jaded about celebrities who wax lyrical about their personal struggles. There is, however, nothing salacious in Wood's honesty. Billabong Boy is all the more powerful for it.

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