It's Our World, Too
Phillip Hoose
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Buy *It's Our World, Too: Young People Who Are Making a Difference* online

It's Our World, Too: Young People Who Are Making a Difference
Phillip Hoose
176 pages
September 2002
rated 4 1/2a of 5 possible stars

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Even though Itís Our World, Too! was written over ten years ago, this moving and inspiring book still proves that young people have the power and ability to change the world, when they put their minds and hearts to it. In fact, these amazing stories about some truly amazing youngsters show that not only should our youth be seen and heard, but even commended as heroes and heroines in a world that routinely degrades the young as apathetic, spoiled and ignorant.

These fourteen fascinating stories of children working for various causes such as human rights, a cleaner environment, feeding the poor, fighting racism and ending gang violence are so inspiring, this book should be recommended reading in every school with the hope that if other children see these stunning examples of kids making a difference, they will realize their own power and talent to do the same. Which is why I was thrilled to see that the entire second half of the book is devoted to showing young activists exactly how they can get involved, choosing a cause that is important to them, planning and organizing and taking action. These suggestions include ways to effect political decisions, contact elected officials, form protests and petition groups, speak out in the media and press, and get together with other like-minded kids and adults.

Unfortunately, this book is dated because of the lack of information about the powerful medium the Internet has become, especially for activism, and hopefully, there will be a sequel to this book with updated and current information, as well as more stories about incredible kids who today care enough to change the world around them. But for now, this is still a remarkable tool for encouraging kids to get involved and prove to the world that they can be tremendous leaders, often surpassing the adults around them in compassion, commitment and dedication.

Even though Dwaina Brooks, a young girl who turned her momís kitchen into a meal center for the poor, is now an adult, her story still amazes and motivates. Even though little John DeMarco, who once stood against racism even when it endangered his life, is now a man, his courage as a 13-year-old still takes my breath away. And even though Justin Lebo, who as a 10-year-old made bikes from used parts and gave them away to homeless and sick children, is now probably fresh out of college, his dedication as a young boy to serving others is a lesson most adults can learn from, and be humbled by.

This book is about the awesome power that comes from just one person, no matter their age or class in life, when they commit to a goal to serve and help others. Their stories are inspiration for all of us, and are more important than ever to embrace. In a society where most adults donít seem to give a damn, or have the time to do anything to help others, the fact that our young people do care, and are willing to go the extra mile to be active members of society, brings utter hope and joy to my cynicís heart. Just knowing these kids and others like them are out there working for a better future makes me feel much less anxious about the world my three-year-old will once day face.

In fact, when he is old enough to read, I will read him this book.

© 2004 by Marie D. Jones for Curled Up With a Good Book

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