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It's Your World- If You Don't Like It, CHANGE IT    by Mikki Halpin order for
It's Your World
by Mikki Halpin
Order:  USA  Can
Pulse, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Mikki Halpin says to fellow teens 'You Can So Change the World', encouraging them not to wait, but to get on with it now. The book goes on to explain exactly how to do that - how to pick a cause, ways to get involved (from '5-minute' activism through 'click-to-donate' sites to 'campus' (school) activism, and on to rallying a community), how to organize and work with others, and how to find support and information. An activist is defined as 'someone who acts on his or her beliefs and values.'

Halpin suggests specific areas for activism - 'Helping Animals', 'Fighting Racism', 'Saving the Environment', 'Ending War', 'Fighting the Spread of HIV/AIDS', 'Stopping School Violence and Bullying', 'Defending Women's Rights', 'Protecting Civil Rights and Civil Liberty', and 'Promoting Tolerance Toward Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth' - but encourages readers not to limit themselves to this list in seeking a cause they will be comfortable with, and passionate about. There are tips on how to do effective and accurate research (including a reminder on safe Internet use), and on how to make media contacts.

Halpin says that activism can be fun, and it feels good to get involved. For each of the issues covered in the book, there's a 'test yourself' component (e.g. an online tolerance test to check biases or an 'environmental footprint' quiz); suggestions on things you can do; stories of what others have done or are doing; and a list of resources, including summary reviews of Internet sites, books (and sometimes) movies. Halpin talks about the importance of respectful behavior in activism, and warns about getting to know groups before aligning yourself with them, and against involvement with groups that break the law.

There's lots to learn in this book - from the best houseplants for indoor air cleaning, and how to monitor community water quality, to the application of the principle of 'civil disobedience'. It's Your World - If You Don't Like It, CHANGE IT is a comprehensive starter kit that speaks teen language and leaves no excuses for avoiding activism. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a copy, pick a cause and set out to change the world.

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