Dorling Kindersley Limited
My World, My Story
Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 2011
My World, My Story is a documentary book designed for the classroom. It contains 22 stories about the lives of young adults all over the world. The stories contained are from boys and girls in extremely diverse circumstances. Some of the youth come from affluence and some are as poor as you can imagine. There are high quality photographs of these youth participating in the activities they describe.
One story touched me more than all the others. It was about a boy named Omar from Bolivia. He is 14 years old and he goes to work each day in a silver mine thinking “I won’t be coming out.” His father died in the mine when he was 10. His brothers work in the mine as well. In the year 1600 this mine was producing 50% of the entire world’s silver. The mine has been worked non-stop for so long the mountain is said to have a heart of Swiss cheese. It is estimated that 8 million people have lost their lives in this mine. Omar makes about 30 dollars a week to combine with his brothers to keep them alive.
Another story told of Maayan and Mohammed. Maayan is an 18 year old Jewish girl, and Mohammed is a 15 year old Arab. Both of them live on the opposite sides of the west bank security fence in Israel. As a Jewish citizen of Israel, Maayan is legally obligated to serve in the military. She has been able to push back her service by becoming a paramedic. She talks about the fear of riding a bus when an Arab is also riding. She worries the bus may explode. Mohammed is a musician who plays in a Jewish/Arab mixed orchestra. He is saddened by the fence that separates so many loved ones. He believes the orchestra is proof that Arabs and Jews can live together in peace.
There are so many ways you can use this book in a classroom setting. I think my favorite idea would be to have each student pick a person from the book and have them write a letter to that person. I would have them write about their feelings about the story and also include their own story. This is really an excellent book to help our youth see how different their lives are from other people their age around the world.