Archive for the ‘Craig Kielburger’ Category

bomarsSOUNDTRACK: SIGUR RÓS-“Ný batterí” (2000).

nyThe single opens with “Rafmagnið búið” a kind of brass introductory piece.  There’s lots of horns building slowly, growing louder but not really playing a melody.  By the end of five minutes, it segues into “Ný batterí” which opens with horns as well.  Then the bass comes in, a slow, deep rumble of simple melody.  After 4 and a  half minutes, the drums are a powerful counterpoint to the sweet melody.

“Bíum bíum bambaló” is a slow piece (aren’t they all) that is mostly percussion.  Apparently it is an Icelandic lullaby.  The final track, “Dánarfregnir og jarðarfarir” was a theme used for death announcements on Icelandic radio.  I love the way it builds from a simple melody into a full rock band version and then back again.  It’s very dramatic.

Both tracks were used in the film Angels of the Universe (and appear on the soundtrack).

That certainly makes this single less interesting than the first one (although I’m not sure that the soundtrack was readily available at the time).

[READ: December 1, 2013] Breakfast on Mars

This is a collection of 38 essays (and an introduction by Margaret Cho).  It also includes an introduction geared toward teachers–an appeal that essays do not need to be dull or, worse yet, scary.  The editors encourage teachers to share these essays with students so they get a feel for what it’s like to write compelling personal nonfiction.  The introduction proper gives a brief history of the essay and then talks about the kind of fun and funny (and serious) essays that are included here.

This was a largely fun and largely interesting collection of essays.  When I grabbed it from the library I didn’t realize it was essays (I was intrigued by the title and then looked at the author list and immediately brought it home).  I know it says essays on the cover, but I chose to ignore that apparently.  When Sarah saw the authors (she knows more of them than I do) she had to read it first.  This proved to be a great counterpoint to the very large novel that I was reading at the same time.

The essays each take on different topics.  And what I liked was that before each essay, they include the question that inspired the essay.  I have included the questions here. (more…)

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givingtuesToday is #GivingTuesday.  Giving Tuesday is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season.  It encourages a national day of giving to kick off the giving season added to the calendar on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

In honor of GivingTuesday I wanted to post about two young people whom I have encountered recently (in print, not in real life).  Each one of them has blown me away with his and her selflessness and resourcefulness.


The first was in the book Breakfast on Mars and Other Essays (which will get a post tomorrow) from Craig Kielburger, a Canadian man who was just 12 when he made a difference.

Craig Kielburger wrote an essay called “A Single Story Can Change Many Lives.”  In it he recounts his own personal experience of outrage at reading a horrible news story.  In 1995, when he was 12 years old, Craig saw a headline in the Toronto Star newspaper that read “Battled child labour, boy, 12, murdered.” The accompanying story was about a young Pakistani boy named Iqbal Masih who was forced into bonded labour in a carpet factory at the age of four.  Masih eventually snuck out and began telling people about what had happened.  When he was 12 he was shot dead.

Kielburger, at age 12, immediately wanted to do something about this.  He took the article to school, gathered friends founded a group called the “Twelve-Twelve-Year-Olds.”  In December 1995 before he started eighth grade, he took two months off of school and backpacked through Asia, Kielburger traveled to Asia with Alam Rahman, a 25-year-old family friend from Bangladesh, to see the conditions for himself.  His group evolved into the Free The Children fund, and international organization.  And his foundation has to date built over 650 schools and school rooms and implemented projects in 45 developing countries through its approach of “children helping children”. The majority of the organization’s annual funding comes from funds raised by young people.


The second story is in the most recent Lucky Peach Issue (#9).  In an insert entitled “Guts,” there is a story about Martha Payne, a Scottish ten year old girl who has made a huge difference.

Martha was nine years old and was asked for a class to write like a journalist.  She thought it would be fun to make a blog about her school meals (this would allow her to include pictures).  So she created NeverSeconds. In one of her posts she wrote “I need to concentrate all afternoon and I can’t do it on 1 croquette. Do any of you think you could?”  Her dad tweeted it and soon it was a sensation.  People really responded to the size of her meal.

And then someone posted that she was lucky to get a meal at all.  She had been helping to raise money for Mary’s Meals for years–in her words, “they provide free school dinners in a place of education in sixteen of the poorest countries in the world.  Children can go to school instead of working or looking for food.”

never secondsBecause of the attention, she set up a JustGiving page that sends money to Mary’s Meals.  She raised £2,000 in a short time.

Back at home, her school began improving their meals and she began rating them (one even got a 10 out of 10).  And she started gaining fame in the region, making the paper and meeting chefs who were curious about her.  And then her school told her she had to shut down her blog.  She wrote about it here.

Of course, that made her blog explode.  She received thousands of messages and emails and began raising more and more money.  She had hoped to raise £7,000, as I write this she has raised £131,219 (that’s 1874% of her goal)–remember, she’s only 10.

Martha notes that $20 will feed a child for a year.  Here’s that link again JustGiving.

It’s amazing what determination can do.  Happy holidays.

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