The Boy Who Changed the World

The Boy Who Changed the World chronicles the influences that affected the life of Norman Borlaug, a man who would grow up and use his knowledge of agriculture to save the lives of two billion people. The influences include the lives of other people, including former Vice President, Henry Wallace; George Washington Carver; and Moses Carver, his father. The theme of the book is that the things we do are important and that they can actually change the world for the better.

Interested in using this resource in your classroom? Check out the posters that go along with this book: Human Resources, Productivity, Productive Resources, Specialization

Comprehension Questions

Why did Norman decide as a boy to “change the world?”

He was concerned when his father told him that many people in the world were hungry because they couldn’t produce enough food to eat.

How was Norman able to develop special seeds of corn, wheat, and rice that grew into “super plants” that could feed much more people

He went to school and developed the skills needed to be a good food scientist. These skills are called human capital. Norman also had a passion for helping people and dedicated his life to developing these seeds. He worked very hard.

What are ways that you can increase your human capital?

Get a good education. Obtain special skills, knowledge, and abilities through training, learning from other people, or internship programs.

By developing special seeds, farmers were able to grow more crops from the same amount of land. What is the economic word that describes this?

Productivity. Productivity means getting more output (in this story, crops) from the same inputs, or productive resources. For growing crops, the productive resources (inputs) that are needed are land, water, fertilizer, tools, machines, seeds, irrigation equipment, etc.

How was George Washington Carver able to help the economy – and many other people?

He specialized in being a teacher and an inventor. He invented 266 things from the peanut that we still use today. And from the simple sweet potato, he invented 88 things that we still use today.

How were the choices of the people in the story important?

Each choice had an impact on helping Norman develop the special seeds that grew into super plants.

If the people had made different choices, how might the story be different?

The particular events that happened to encourage Norman to develop the seeds would not have happened. The choices we make as individuals have significance! 

Author: Andy Andrews
Illustrator: Philip Hurst
Published: 2010
Grade Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader Level/Points: 0.5
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc.