It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!

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9780141366494: It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!

Get Informed! Get Inspired! Get Going! The New York Times bestselling book of empowerment for kids. Make a difference in your world!

In a book that tackles the biggest challenges facing us today, Chelsea Clinton combines facts, charts, photographs and stories to give readers a deep understanding of the world around them—and how anyone can make a difference. With stories about children and teens who have made real changes big and small—in their families, their communities, in our country and across the world—this book will inspire readers of all ages to do their part to make our world a better place.

In addition to informing and inspiring readers about topics including Poverty, Homelessness, Food Insecurity, Access to Education, Gender Equality, Epidemics, Non-Communicable Diseases, Climate Change, and Endangered Species, this book encourages everyone to get going! With suggestions and ideas for action, Chelsea Clinton shows readers that the world belongs to every single one of us, and every one of us counts.

You can make a difference. You can make a change. It’s your world.

Praise for It's Your World:

"Clinton clearly paid attention to her parents' discussions at the dinner table, and she capably shares the lessons they imparted about the future impact of what we do in the present."--Publishers Weekly 

"[A] terrific resource for junior activists."--Booklist 

"This book is a resource for children and teens who also want to make a difference and may not know where to begin or may have an idea for ways they can make a difference."--VOYA

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About the Author:

Chelsea Clinton has always been interested in making the world a better place. When she was a child in Little Rock, Arkansas, one of her favorite books was 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, and as a teenager in Washington, D.C., she led her school’s service club. While at Stanford, Chelsea worked as a reading and writing tutor and volunteered at the Children’s Hospital. Today, she is Vice Chair of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation where she helps lead the work of the Foundation across its various initiatives, with a particular focus on work related to health, women and girls, creating service opportunities, and empowering the next generation of leaders. Chelsea holds a BA from Stanford University, an MPH from Columbia University, and an MPhil and doctorate degree in international relations from Oxford University. She lives in New York City with her husband, Marc, their daughter, Charlotte, their son, Aidan, and their dog Soren. You can follow her on Twitter at @ChelseaClinton or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chelseaclinton.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Courtesy of the UN, Map No. 4170

INTRODUCTION

What’s the first thing you remember reading? The first thing I remember reading on my own was the local newspaper, the old-fashioned kind that left ink stains on my hands. I probably read Corduroy or a Curious George story first, out loud to my parents, but it’s the newspapers I pored over as I ate my morning Cheerios that mark the line in my mind between not-reading and reading. The newspaper is probably what I remember most because it’s what enabled me to be a part of my parents’ conversations about what was happening in our hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas, and the broader world. Those conversations happened around the dinner table every night and intensely after church on Sunday over lunch. They happened on the way to school and on the way home from ballet class, before Brownies meetings and after softball games. In other words, they happened all the time.

Knowing what was in the newspaper meant I didn’t have to wait for my parents to explain everything to me. I could ask questions to start conversations about the world too. Best of all? The newspaper helped hide how much honey I poured on top of my Cheerios. My mom wouldn’t let me have sugary cereal growing up (more on that later) and so I improvised, adding far more honey than likely would have been in any honeyed cereals. Thankfully, my mom never caught on.

I was very fortunate growing up. My main worries were things like trying to get my mom to relax her ban on sugary cereals, figuring out how to stick a clay honeycomb or papier-mâché Jupiter or clay-and-Popsicle-stick coral reef to poster board for various science projects, how to sell more Girl Scout Cookies than I did the year before and whether my best friend Elizabeth and I would sleep at her house or my house Saturday night. I never doubted I would have a roof over my head, a school to go to, enough to eat, books (and newspapers) to read, a safe neighborhood to play in and a doctor to see if I got sick.

My parents and grandparents made sure I knew I was lucky. I don’t remember a time not knowing the life story of my mom’s mom, my grandma Dorothy. By the time she was eight, my grandma Dorothy’s parents had abandoned her twice, often leaving her hungry and alone in their Chicago apartment. The first time was when she was three years old. Ultimately, they sent her to live with her grandparents in California. When she became a teenager, her grandparents told her she was no longer welcome in their home and that since she was old enough to get a job and support herself, she had to leave. If she hadn’t found a job working in someone else’s home, she would have been homeless. If her employers hadn’t supported her determination to go to school, she would have had to drop out. As a teenager, she constantly worried about whether she would have a roof over her head, be able to go to school or have enough to eat.

Courtesy of the Author’s Parents

My grandma Dorothy as a kid in 1928.

My grandmother always talked very matter-of-factly about her memories of being hungry and scared as a child. Knowing her story helped me be aware that some of the kids I knew at Forest Park Elementary, Booker Arts Magnet School or Horace Mann Junior High likely had to worry about whether there would be enough to eat that day and whether it would be safe to play outside when they got home. Less than twenty-five years before I was born, Horace Mann was a school only for African American students. Back then, schools were segregated by race in Arkansas—as they were across much of the South until the late 1950s—and the schools white kids went to had more and better resources, like nicer classrooms, more books, newer desks and fancier playgrounds. The wounding legacy of segregation and growing up knowing adults who had worked for civil rights and equal opportunities for African Americans was part of what made me understand that many kids in my community and around the world were still treated differently because of the color of their skin. My mother’s work on behalf of girls and women first in Arkansas and later around the world helped me understand how being born a girl is often seen as reason enough to deny someone the right to go to school or to make her own decisions, even about who or when to marry.

Long before I turned eighteen and started voting, really for as long as I can remember, my parents expected me to have an opinion or point of view about everything. Truly, everything. What I experienced, what I learned in school and what I saw or read about in the news. They also expected me to be able to back up my views with facts and evidence—and, if I could, to work to change things that frustrated me. It never seemed to matter how old—or young—I was. And it wasn’t just my parents; my grandparents felt the same way. As my grandma Ginger, my dad’s mother, often told me before she passed away when I was thirteen, “Chelsea, you’ve been blessed and you need to always be thinking about how to expand the circle of blessings.” My grandma Dorothy repeatedly told me, “You’ll never know until you try.”

Courtesy of the Author’s Parents

This is a photocopy of the letter I sent to President Reagan in 1985. I included one of my favorite stickers as a sign of respect (and hoped it might help the president take my letter more seriously).

Reading the newspaper and knowing what was happening was only a first step—making a positive difference, or at least trying to, was what mattered most. Those expectations were one of the greatest gifts my parents and grandparents gave me. It felt important, and exciting, to know I could make a difference, or, again, that at least I could try. I wrote a letter to President Reagan when I was five to voice my opposition to his visit to the Bitburg cemetery in Germany, because Nazis were buried there. I didn’t think an American president should honor a group of soldiers that included Nazis. President Reagan still went, but at least I had tried in my own small way. In elementary school, I was part of a group that helped start a paper-recycling program. Through my church in Little Rock, I volunteered in park cleanups, helped with food drives and worked in soup kitchens. There was always more to do, but seeing bags fill up with trash, barrels fill up with canned food and people eating meals all taught me that a group of people working together could have a real impact—and that such work could even be fun.

Supported by my grandparents, while in elementary school, I joined organizations like Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International because I believed in their work and wanted to be part of it, even if it was being done far from Arkansas. All were dedicated to protecting our environment and protecting animals—whales, elephants, giant pandas—that I had seen only in our local zoo or on television but felt a connection to. I wanted to play even a minor part in ensuring their futures. I talked about issues I cared about to anyone who would listen and hoped I wasn’t too annoying, because if I wasn’t annoying, and I was making a good argument, then maybe one more person would care about whales or elephants or giant pandas than before I’d started.

What I didn’t realize when I was younger was how much of what I read, thought about, debated and tried to make a difference on were issues that arguably had even more of an impact on kids my age than on grown-ups. That’s still true. Some things, like certain infectious diseases, are more dangerous for kids, while other things, like global warming, affect kids more because you will live with the consequences for longer (unless we stop climate change). A good part of what I worry about now, I first started worrying about when I was a kid. This is a book about some of the big issues our world and particularly kids face. It’s also a book about some of the solutions young people (and a few adults) have created and supported to help make their families, neighborhoods, cities and our world healthier, safer and more equal.

This book is not exhaustive, meaning it does not address every single issue around the world today. Far from it. It also does not come close to tackling every detail of the issues I do talk about. In the same way, the solutions I describe represent only a small part of what has been tried and what has worked, for example to help people be healthier or to get more kids in school. Throughout, it draws on facts and research. Hopefully the data makes the issues more interesting—and feel as urgent to you as they do to me. I hope the little history I include has a similar effect. Understanding why a problem exists and whether it recently has gotten better or worse is important in figuring out the best solution. This book is not political, in the sense that it does not take a political position, or tell people to vote a certain way. It does recognize how the people who get elected and hold office in the U.S. and around the world influence the issues we most care about.

The issues I talk about in this book are all connected. A family living in poverty is more likely to confront hunger than one living comfortably. One type of inequality that girls face around the world is being denied the right to go to school, and so there are more girls, particularly older girls, than boys not in school. Patterns of infectious disease are changing as the climate changes and the earth grows warmer. And those are just a few examples.

Not surprisingly then, solutions are also often connected. Having equal numbers of girls and boys in school sends a powerful message to those students and to younger kids that all people have an equal right to an education and an equal right to their own dreams. Halting climate change so that we have more stable weather removes some uncertainty around the next disease outbreak; that means health systems, hospitals, clinics, doctors, nurses and others can be better prepared to save more lives. And, again, those are only a couple such examples. Throughout this book, you’ll meet amazing young people (and a few older ones)—some of whom I’m lucky enough to call my friends, and many I’ve never met—who are working on solutions to individual issues and at these very intersections. I admire all of their work and, if nothing else, I hope their stories are as inspiring to you as they are to me.

I’m excited that you’ve agreed to come on this journey—after all, it’s your world!

Courtesy of Dave Anderson, Heifer International

CHAPTER ONE

POVERTY AROUND THE WORLD

When I was fifteen, I was lucky enough to travel with my mother to South Asia. We visited Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. I remember being so excited. I couldn’t wait to see the majestic Taj Mahal in Agra, India, the beautiful citadel of the Lahore Fort in Lahore, Pakistan, and the almost mythical Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. I hoped to see elephants in Sri Lanka, and I couldn’t wait to share it all with my mom. Throughout the trip, I learned, saw and experienced even more than I’d imagined possible.

Courtesy of William J. Clinton Presidential Library

My mom and I at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, in 1995.

Our first stop was Pakistan, where we visited schools and mosques, centuries-old temples, bustling markets and parks. What I remember most are the people we saw and met, including then–prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, the first woman prime minister or president I’d ever met. But the people who made the greatest impression on me were girls my own age and even younger who I saw working in fields and on streets, and those I talked to as we walked around their school or shared a soda. What struck me most from our conversations was how much we had in common and how our most enthusiastic smile-inducing moments involved talking about our favorite subjects in school, our favorite books and what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wanted to be a doctor, or at least do something related to health when I was older. Different girls I met at the girls’ school we visited in Islamabad shared their dreams too. One wanted to be prime minister like Benazir Bhutto, another a doctor, one a teacher and one girl I will never forget told me she wanted to climb all the tallest mountains in the Himalayas in each country—Pakistan, India, Nepal, China and Bhutan—to conquer the mountains and to help build relationships across countries and cultures. I was in awe of her, but I was equally in awe of the girls I met who were determined to succeed, particularly those from poor communities in Pakistan and elsewhere on our trip where most kids, especially girls, didn’t even go to school at the time. They were determined that the hardships that too often come with poverty—widespread disease, fewer opportunities to go to school, hard work for little pay or no work at all—were not going to be the beginning and end of their stories.

The second country we visited was India. In Ahmedabad, as we drove, we saw what seemed an endless patchwork of tin, tarp and what looked like giant garbage bags serving as roofs for thousands of homes built of metal, wood and mud. It was the first slum I’d ever seen that stretched over a horizon, and it was an overwhelming sight. It was heartbreaking to think about people who would lead their whole lives entrenched there. When we were in Mumbai, we saw the Dharavi slum, one of the largest in the world, where it’s estimated 1 million people live. As we left India, I knew I would never forget the soaring splendor of the Taj Mahal, the serenity of Gandhi’s ashram (more on that in a bit), the beautiful traditional dancing I’d seen—or the slums.

 

Courtesy of david pearson/Alamy

This is what the Dharavi slums look like from the sky.

In Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh (a country the size of Wisconsin with more than 100 million people then, and even more today), the slum and city seemed even more intertwined; we could see a slum not far from our hotel room’s window. Seeing the slums, whether from a road or a room, and walking through different ones in different cities, it was hard to fathom that the people living there were only miles (sometimes less—only across the street) from clean water, flushing toilets, health care, schools, roads and electricity. It felt like another world—but it wasn’t. The main difference? Poverty.

 

Courtesy of William J. Clinton Presidential Library

Sharing a soda in Pakistan with some girls around my age.

I’ve now visited slums and poor villages in Asia, Africa and Latin America. There’s no difference between the dreams and dignity of people living under a tarp, in a shack or in a rural mud hut to your dreams and mine, to you and to me. As I’ve heard my parents say my whole life, and couldn’t agree more, “Talent and intelligence are equally distributed across the world, but opportunity isn’t.”

What do you think is a good definition of poverty? Many different definitions exist. Poverty can be calculated based on how much money someone has, how much money someone makes or how much property and how many things someone owns or can buy wit...

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In It s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired Get Going, Chelsea Clinton tackles some of the biggest challenges facing our world today, especially for kids. Using data, charts and stories she unpacks challenges related to Poverty, Climate Change, Gender Equality, Health, Endangered Species and more. She also talks about what s being done to make a difference in each area, particularly by kids and teenagers. With lots of suggestions and ideas for action, Chelsea Clinton shares her passion for helping others and shows readers that the world belongs to every single one of us, and every one of us counts. The book will have three main thrusts: Informing young readers using facts and research Inspiring them with stories of hope and empowerment Suggesting practical ways that young readers can make a difference in their own communities and in the larger world. Filled with visuals including charts, graphs and photographs, this book has the potential to influence an entire generation s activism and involvement in local and global issues. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780141366494

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In It s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired Get Going, Chelsea Clinton tackles some of the biggest challenges facing our world today, especially for kids. Using data, charts and stories she unpacks challenges related to Poverty, Climate Change, Gender Equality, Health, Endangered Species and more. She also talks about what s being done to make a difference in each area, particularly by kids and teenagers. With lots of suggestions and ideas for action, Chelsea Clinton shares her passion for helping others and shows readers that the world belongs to every single one of us, and every one of us counts. The book will have three main thrusts: Informing young readers using facts and research Inspiring them with stories of hope and empowerment Suggesting practical ways that young readers can make a difference in their own communities and in the larger world. Filled with visuals including charts, graphs and photographs, this book has the potential to influence an entire generation s activism and involvement in local and global issues. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780141366494

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