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Tell Me Why: How Young People Can Change the World    compiled by Eric Walters order for
Tell Me Why
by Eric Walters
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday, 2009 (2009)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In his Introduction, Eric Walters tells us that Tell Me Why: How Young People Can Change the World came about as an attempt to answer questions young people ask him about the world, about good and evil, and about what they can do to make an impact. The questions are asked by a fictional Jo, a composite of many young people the author has met. He approached a diverse group of genuine heroes for anwers - 'From astronaut, to opera singer, to cartoonist, to tight rope walker, to basketball player, to politician'.

In the first part of the book, Walters' heroes - from Inuit singer Susan Aglukark to soccer player Ethan Zohn (and with many well-known names like astronaut Marc Garneau, primatologist Jane Goodall and storyteller Robert Munsch along the way) give their answers to Jo's letter. Interspersed amongst them are inspiring quotations, such as the Japanese proverb, 'Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.'

Susan Aglukark tells us that 'many have forgotten that the simple act of self-respect and respecting others and everything around you is a powerful motivator to do good and be good.' Ethan Zohn says, 'follow your heart, fight for a cause, see the hope that is born in someone else's eyes because of something you were able to do for them.'

Part 2 of Tell Me Why profiles 'five young people who are not only talking about making the world a better place, but are making the world a better place.' Bilaal Rajan has an impressive track record in fundraising for global poverty. Hannah Taylor raises money and awareness in support of the homeless. Kyle Angelow fundraises for cancer research. Paige Pedlar wrote a book, whose sales raise money to educate AIDS orphans. Ryan Hreljac's efforts result in wells that provide clean water in countries around the world.

If you worry about some of the big questions in life and wonder what you can do, here's a place to start. Read Tell Me Why for at least some of the answers, as well as inspiring accounts of what other young people have done to make a pretty big difference.

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