When Kid Activists Grow UP
Some of the children from The Kid Activists Series aren’t quite so young anymore…
Written and illustrated by Janet Wilson, each book in the series includes ten in-depth profiles of child activists from around the world. The kids have since grown up, but making a difference and inspiring others to do the same is still as important to them as ever. Keep reading to learn how five of the kids from the Kid Activists Series continue to do work that significantly impacts our world!
Severn Cullis-Suzuki (Canada)
Profiled in Our Earth: How Kids Are Saving the Planet, the first book in Janet Wilson’s Kid Activists Series, we learned that Severn is the daughter of famed Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki. At age 9, she had spent time in the Brazilian rainforest with her father who was doing research. It was there that she was horrified to learn about the fires destroying rainforests for logging and lumber. She decided to raise money to attend a conference where she delivered a speech that would go viral, giving her the reputation as “the girl who silenced the world for five minutes.”
Today, Severn lives on beautiful Haida Gwaii in British Columbia with her family. Together they are learning Xaayda Kil (a Skidegate dialect of the Haida language) from local Elders. She is also currently a Vanier scholar pursuing a PhD at the University of British Columbia, conducting research on her current passion, Indigenous language revitalization.
William Kamkwamba (Malawi)
Also profiled in Our Earth: How Kids are Saving the Planet, 14-year-old William, born in Malawi, could no longer attend school when his parents became unable to afford it. Ever curious, William did not let that stop him. He took his learning into his own hands and began reading as many books from the local library as possible. A book on windmill generated electricity piqued his interest and he decided to try it for himself to help out his village. And he did! Using parts from a broken bicycle, a fan, headlights, pipes, wires, rusty nails, a shock absorber, and even rubber flip flops, William created electricity! He then went on to document his story in the children’s book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.
Today, William is a graduate of prestigious Dartmouth College in the United States, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies. In 2013, he was recognized by Time magazine as one of the “30 People Under 30 Changing the World.” In 2019, his book, The Boy who Harnessed the Wind was adapted by British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (Love Actually, 12 Years a Slave) for Netflix. Watch the trailer!
Hannah Taylor (Canada)
In the summer of 2019, The Ladybug Foundation celebrated its final day as a registered charity. Taylor is confident that The Ladybug Foundation met its mandate “by connecting hearts and doing work for Canadians experiencing homelessness.” But her heart for humanity will not end there. In the fall of 2019, Hannah, now 23, will be attending law school at the University of Manitoba’s Robson Hall where she hopes to specialize in human rights.
Mimi Ausland (USA)
Nicknamed Dr. Doolittle by her parents, we learned about Mimi’s love of animals in Our Heroes: How Kids are Making a Difference. At the age of 7, she began volunteering at an animal shelter. It was there that she saw the effects of food shortages on thousands of dogs and cats in shelters. With the help of her parents she created Freekibble.com. Everyday she would post a question. For each answer, right or wrong, she would donate 10 pieces of kibble to shelters from pet businesses and other companies.
Today, Mimi has taken the same business approach from Freekibble.com and is applying it to her new venture, Free the Ocean. The money generated from advertising on the site funds the removal of one piece of plastic from the ocean every time you answer a daily trivia question on the website or app. The money is then donated directly to Sustainable Coastlines, a Hawaiian non-profit that manually removes plastic from the ocean. Mimi will also launch a Free the Ocean jewellery line, where each product sold funds the removal of 10-20 pieces of plastic from the ocean.
Felix Finkbeiner (Germany)
Felix was featured in Our Earth: How Kids are Saving the Planet for starting an organization called Pant for the Planet at just 9 years old. It all began when Felix gave his 4th grade class a presentation about global warming that snowballed into an initiative that would get schools like his involved in combatting climate change by planting a billion trees.
Today, Felix is 21 years old and Plant for the Planet has branches in 67 countries. Its participants have planted more than 15.2 billion trees in 190 countries. Still working with his organization, he has since graduated with a BA in International Relations from SOAS University of London and is currently a PhD student of environmental sciences at the Crowther Lab of ETH Zürich, where he studies the most effective approaches to forest restoration.
Check out the newest book in the series, Our Future: How Kids are Taking Action
Available for pre-order now, published on September 10th!