By Author / Illustrator
Leon Rolle, Derek Owusu
Walker Books Ltd
Paperback / softback
Leon "Locksmith" Rolle is one-quarter of the phenomenally successful band Rudimental. In this book, he shares his aspirational story. With chapters on mindset, self-belief and confidence, Leon encourages you to find balance and happiness, no matter what life throws at you.
Leon grew up in Hackney, where he played semi-professional football and went on to form Rudimental with three childhood friends. He says: "Things weren't always easy for me growing up, and I made a lot of mistakes. But I don't regret any of it, because everything that's happened has made me Locksmith, and that makes me proud. I want you to be proud of yourself too. You have the power to be great, and successes, mistakes and failures are all just a part of life. It's the journey that counts, because that's what makes you who you are."
Let Leon's story inspire you to embrace life and fulfil your incredible potential.
From award winning Rudimental band founder member Leon Rolle (Locksmith) come a reflective book of personal stories and advice for teens everywhere to help them be the best they can. Over 12 easy-to-read chapters, Leon takes us on a journey through his teens and early twenties, sharing key stories, situations and experiences growing up in London and how he was able to learn from them, and cope with the difficulties, challenges and changes in his early life.
There are many school-related situations in About This Boy as well as football and music, with each chapter having a reflective summary at the end. Themes and issues explored include dealing with anger, loneliness keeping positive, success and failure, gangs and being true to yourself, with the author keen to made children proud of themselves.
Not knowing anything about this musician, I approached the book for the teen self-help book that it is. This is quite a personal book, with Leon proving lots of reflection and insight into his early life. It's also a very accessible and quick to read book, with each themed chapter followed by a short reflective summary and focused advice. This format would make the book a useful PSE or Guidance classes at school, as each chapter is very self-contained and focused on one issue, and a lesson could be constructed round a selected chapter, or pupils could be directed to read selected chapters.
Outside the Rudimental fan base, this may be a book that would benefit from personal recommendation or directing from fellow readers or librarians / staff, as it may be overlooked if you're not a fan and there are some useful sections in this book. Due to the short chapters and easy to read feel of this book, it may appeal to reluctant readers and, with football running through many chapters, it could appeal to boys especially.
It's good to see a young man talk about issues that affected him growing up and will be affecting many young people today, like feelings of anger, loneliness and being frightened to show emotion, yet being full of passion for the things you are interested in - in Leon's case, football and music. I can relate to many of these feelings growing up and don't recall them being represented in books. For me, the chapter called 'You are not alone' resonated the most, looking at wanting to be alone but also loneliness. It was good to see the differences between these written about and a reminder that you are not alone; there are people you can talk to. Also welcome in the book is a focus that mistakes are part of life - we make them and continue to make them but can learn from them; "Every opportunity in life is a way to get better at what we do".
One thing I would have liked to have seen in the book is a list of websites or books offering readers more advice and information on the issues discussed in the book. It would have rounded the book off well. Overall this is a reflective read which gave me more to think about than I was expecting, while discussing many issues teens will relate to - even if you're not a fan of his music.
160 pages / Reviewed by Stephen Leitch, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+