Book review: Reaching Out Messages of Hope

BOOK: Reaching Out Messages of Hope
EDITED BY: Mariah Kennedy
PUBLISHER: ABC Books, HarperCollins Publishers Aust
RRP: $19.99

REACHING Out is a collection of messages of hope edited by 16-year-old schoolgirl Mariah Kennedy from Geelong, Victoria.

At age 11, Mariah attended an international children's convention in Japan which sparked in her a passion for social justice and youth advocacy.

She is currently a Young Ambassador for UNICEF Australia which takes her around the country and round the world.

The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child has become a very powerful affirmation of children's rights to survive, thrive, be loved and protected and fulfil their potential.

Mariah found that even in the most downtrodden and poverty-stricken circumstances, children the world over retain an irrepressible optimism that engenders hope, rather than be shackled by the limitations surrounding them.

She also found their overriding desire for education; just a few text books and pencils were treasured over any other gifts. Indeed literature is a powerful tool; as Mariah says: "words can, and do change the world".

With this in mind, she wrote to and brought together some of the most influential names in children's literature.

The range is impressive -from the heartrending story of an impoverished African child, the friendships of two girls on opposite sides of the globe or the experiences of a former child soldier, you will be moved and inspired.

Young people are our future. Often criticised, it is ultimately they who can make a difference, and with their energy, passion and belief in themselves they have the potential to create real change.

Michael Morpurgo, Jackie French, Bruce Whatley, Andy Griffiths and Michael Leunig are just some of the brilliant writers who make up Mariah's anthology. Here are true messages of hope.

I hope this book finds its way into every teenager's hands worldwide.

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