CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 1. . . .September 5, 2014
This collection of stories features young people aged 5-16 from around the world who have taken it upon themselves to help other children (and animals) they feel deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion. Their projects include fundraising for food, raising awareness of the need for tolerance and safety, and helping to provide a chance to play or a chance to learn. As an introduction, author Janet Wilson relates an African tale, “The Ubuntu Story”; it serves as the inspiration for each child’s actions. The message, “How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?” speaks of the compassion and empathy which these children have taken to heart and beyond. Ten heroes’ stories are each presented with generous quotes in an account of how they found the cause they wanted to support, and what they’ve accomplished. They are followed by another 22 anecdotes that describe, in each child’s own words, one small act of sharing and caring that has made a difference for many, e.g. developing a low-cost lighting system to save endangered predators from being killed by farmers, creating puzzles as a calming tool for Alzheimer’s patients, writing inspiring lyrics to help kids make healthy food and exercise choices. Additional information is provided on the last page in the form of websites for the child activists profiled, or for the organizations they’ve founded.
Wilson’s book has a clean, attractive design with a portrait and photos that readers can trust – they show the kids at work, on the spot, giving hope, making headlines. Several books have recently been published on this same topic, and stories of young activists are frequently in the news, but the idea of celebrating these young people for their concern cannot be overdone. Kids today have so many opportunities to see firsthand how their peers live in other lands – through personal travel, as well as media presentations -- all of which inspires their initiatives to take direct action. These are future leaders with big dreams for the world they will inherit. The successes they are experiencing with small acts such as letter writing, public speaking, or fund-raising are only the beginning. They often lead to much bigger things, sometimes a career choice. It’s amazing to read about the variety of foundations and organizations the kids, themselves, have established. Their ideas will inspire others, of course.
Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.