Podcast Episode 44: What Andy’s Books Can Do for Kids

Jul 21, 2012 | Podcasts

In The Loop with Andy Andrews, hosted by Andy Traub.

This week’s special guest, Melinda Leake, is a middle school English teacher from Tennessee who has integrated Andy’s books into her classroom. She discusses the potential that the books can unlock in young people.


Three summers ago, Melinda had an emergency appendectomy and was hospitalized for 10 days.

  • Around day seven, she was in a state of depression.
  • She was looking out a window and realized that her perspective was totally wrong. She saw all the people in the hospital who were worse off, and realized she had many amazing things in her life.
  • When she got out of the hospital, she and her family went on vacation to the gulf.
  • While in a local bookstore in Seaside, she saw The Noticer and decided to pick it up, especially once she noticed the subtitle—“Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.”
  • That book is what caused her to fall in love with Andy’s writing.


She realized there were lessons that, not only adults, but also kids could take away from The Noticer.

  • She used it in her classroom and the kids absolutely loved it.
  • They shared the book with their parents and friends and grandparents.
  • She has gone on to teach The Young Traveler’s Gift, The Traveler’s Gift, The Heart Mender, and How Do You Kill 11 Million People?
  • Teaching is a lot different now. It used to be about just pouring knowledge in. Now, it’s about preparing kids to enter a society that doesn’t really want to know everything they know…they want to know what the kids can actually do with what they know. And Andy’s books show kids how they can actually do things.


Andy asks, “What do you actually do with the books in your class?”

  • She sets the stage for what the students are about to read.
  • With The Heart Mender, they learn a lot about WWII and what the country and world was like during the time in which the book is set.
  • They explore the books’ characters.
  • Then, they simply start going through the book together.
  • The quotes from the books that can be applied to the kids’ lives are huge for her.


A lot of the concepts in Andy’s books are things that all adults wish they had known when they were younger.

  • The books can set teenagers up to make better choices as they get older.
  • Wisdom, worry, and the love dialects are all huge concepts that Melinda’s students have latched onto when they read The Noticer.


There are free curriculums on AndyAndrews.com/Education that teachers can use to plan or supplement lessons about each book. There are also large quantity discounts available for educators.


Questions for Listeners

  • Do you have a question? Call in and your question might be featured on the show!


If you have questions or comments for THE PROFESSIONAL NOTICER, please contact us at: TheProfessionalNoticer@AndyAndrews.com

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