CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 17 . . . . April 18, 2008
The Canadian Kielburger brothers, Craig and Marc, have co-authored this “call to action.” It is a moving, serious, yet hopeful book that invites us to volunteer and contribute to building a better, caring society. It addresses the moral imperative. The text is carefully crafted to tell the brothers’ own stories about the creation of the international Free the Children organization and the Leaders Today program to develop youth leaders. A rationale and the foundation for volunteerism and the importance of empathy and gratitude are carefully explained in the early chapters.
The contents incorporate elements of interest to the reader: first, we hear the voices of Craig and his older brother Marc as they tell their personal stories of service to others. Next, short autobiographies of many well known, and some not so famous people, are included. Archbishop Desmond Tutu tells of the importance of interdependence; Dame Jane Goodall writes fondly of the inspiration and caring exemplified by her mother; and Oprah Winfrey speaks of the joy she gets from bringing happiness to others. Such stories are inspirational and appealing.
In addition, each of the 13 chapters includes a section: “Start Now!” This section encourages the reader to begin journaling and recording personal ideas. It is directive and helpful in sorting out issues and opinions. Teenagers may find these activities particularly valuable as they work through the book. The candor within the book is refreshing and should connect to middle and high school students in particular.
Craig relates one early experience in Thailand and working with those infected and dying from AIDS:
Another story is that of a 14-year-old boy, a student leader, in war-torn Sierra Leone and how he stood up to the military who was recruiting children as soldiers. It is brutally honest and gut wrenching:
Today some high schools are introducing the concept of “volunteerism” as part of credit requirements for graduation. It seems to me, that a book such as this could provide a rationale and logic for this initiative. Members of student councils and faculty advisors could also benefit from the suggestions outlined in ways to serve local and third world communities. It is important to state that Me to We should not be delegated to youth alone; adults may find considerable food for thought too.
Craig and Marc remind us,
The Me to We philosophy is essentially a choice of how we live our lives. We have
Carolyn Crippen is the Assistant Dean of Education (Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Education) at the University of Manitoba.
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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.