Some days our kids can feel like their own problems are pretty big. Or maybe they are doing just fine, but we’d like to expand their scope, teach them to look beyond themselves for opportunities to help, and to learn how other people live. There are certainly books that do that – and this new book by Marc Kielburger tells the story of his own eye-opening experience.
by Marc Kielburger
Me To We
ISBN: 978 0 9784375 7 2
Craig Kielburger became, some years ago, widely known for taking a stand against child labour and becoming an activist when he was just a child himself. His brother, Mark learned his own lessons about helping and making a difference on a trip to Thailand that prompted him to write this story.
It began one day when a mentor asked him what kind of person he wanted to be. He thought about it for some time, and realized that he wanted to help people. This answer opened some opportunities for him, and he went to a small, impoverished town in Thailand, where he was struck by the hardship people faced, but equally affected by a group of street children that he met whose happiness in the face of their circumstances showed him the importance of supporting each other.
Instead of leaving Thailand, he stayed for a year, and dedicated himself to helping kids help other kids when he returned. This book is one way he wants to get kids thinking about this, and it lists a few other books and talks about Me To We at the back.
Being simply the story of his own experience, this is a short and simple story, but it drives home the point of thinking about what kind of person you want to be, encouraging children to strive to help others. It is told in plain language, and the images are equally simple and bold. I rarely love computer-generated artwork, so they are not really my style, but I will give them that they are jaunty and energetic, and designed to speak to kids, so while they may not add to the story, they also don’t distract from it. On the whole, this is a really good way to start talking about world issues, about poverty and street children, and about ways that we can help others – which I think is the point exactly!