Children's book tells Craig Kielburger story

By  Nicholas Carafa, The Catholic Register
  • April 6, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - Young children’s experiences can have a lasting influence on their lives. For Craig Kielburger, his first trip to help children in South Asia at the age of 12 was such an experience, and he has chronicled it in a children’s book called It Takes A Child.

Kielburger is the founder and chair of Free the Children, a Toronto-based organization that aims to eliminate poverty and exploitation of children around the world through education and social programs, such as Adopt A Village. This program allows families that are confronted with poverty a chance to break out and live successfully, building schools and establishing health clinics among other things.
“The truth is horrific sometimes, and Free the Children had to find a way to get it across to young children and educate them,” said Kielburger.

Kielburger wants children worldwide to realize the world is a small place and someone can make a difference no matter how young, using himself as an example.

It Takes A Child is an illustrated representation of Kielburger’s first trip overseas to Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan to investigate child labour abuses. It has approximately 40 pages of meaningful storytelling in a way that a child can grasp the message being sent across effectively.

The story begins with Kielburger as a young boy, shocked by a newspaper story about  a 12-year-old boy in Pakistan who died because he exposed a local carpet factory for using child labour. The story explains Kielburger’s motivation, the journey and the experiences —  like a young girl dismantling used needles to be cleaned and many children doing dangerous work in a fireworks factory — which led to the creation of Free the Children.

“The first time always has the biggest impact, you never come back the same person,” said Kielburger. “People have to become socially involved.”

The book is to be released primarily in North America, but the book is to be translated into Japanese and published in Japan.

With visits to more than 70 countries since then and a few wise words from one of his greatest heroes, Mother Teresa, Kielburger continues to educate kids about a subject they cannot find in any text book, but believes it is something they must become involved with to understand. Kielburger has also created other non-fiction books and biographies that may be used as an inspirational how-to guide that can educate children at any age.

The book complements previous actions by Kielburger and Free the Children in efforts to get younger people involved, such as Youth in Action, a social justice club that helps build schools and educate less fortunate children.

With their help, Free the Children has been able to educate more than 50,000 children throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“It is a great experience for all youth,” said Kielburger.Recommended for children at a younger age, the book is now available for $10.95 at

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