Friday 3 January 2020

How to Make a Better World

How to Make a Better World by Keily Swift (DK Penguin, Random House) PB RRP $19.99 ISBN9780241412206

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This is a book for all future activists who wish to create a better world for everyone. It’s packed with tips on how a young person can change the world, one step at a time. The book starts with focusing on ‘You’, letting readers know that it’s important to feel good, believe in oneself and taking care of one’s mind and body. It invites the reader to imagine how they could do to save the planet if they could – think clean oceans, freedom of speech, equality for all, world peace, saving animals, a kindness revolution. Then it shows how the reader can take care of himself (get active, get good sleep, practice mindfulness and so on). Learning to recognise one’s emotions is valuable as is knowing the power of positive thinking.

Moving on, the author Swift, who is Managing Editor of First News, an award-winning weekly newspaper for children, shows how, among other things, to celebrate heritage, volunteer (join a beach clean-up, for instance), put a stop to bullying. Swift highlights inspiring young people who are influential, such as Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, educational reformist Malala Yousafzai and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Millie Bobby Brown.

Young individuals can make a difference in many ways, perhaps by establishing little community libraries, getting their voice heard, becoming an activist. ‘You don’t need to launch a formal campaign,’ says Swift, ‘start getting your message heard. Voice an opinion and try to make an impact.” Making posters and flyers, taking part in demonstrations, not discriminating, raising money and spotting fake news are ways in which young people can participate in making change in the world.

In the back of this colourful book for readers aged 8 years and over, is a list of organisations, websites and campaigns to give more information and ideas. There is also a glossary and a comprehensive index and acknowledgements.

There ought to be no excuse for anyone reading this easy to read, comprehensive book not to become involved if they are moved in any way to make a change to one’s world, even if it’s only on a small scale.

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