All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. - Victor Hugo (1802-1885)
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To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring. - George Santayana (1863–1952)
How do you roust today's TV- and computer-dazed kids out of their comfy confines to get them busy making the world a better place? Just ask PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk, who over the past two decades has transformed animal rights from an obscure social movement into all the rage among young people from Manhattan to Manila. With more than 1.1 million members and supporters worldwide, PETA's engine is being powered by youth-many barely in their teens. So it comes as no surprise that Newkirk's latest book-50 AWESOME WAYS KIDS CAN HELP ANIMALS: Fun and Easy Ways to Be a Kind Kid (November 2006; Warner Books Paperback Original; $12.99)-is aimed squarely at kids who realize that when it comes animals, cruel is definitely not cool.
The book is packed cover-to-cover with everything from what to tell Mom if she drags home a fur coat and why tropical fish weren't meant to be room decorations, to how to stand up to teachers who think they can make you dissect a frog and how to handle that guy down the street who kicks his dog-stuff kids can really sink their teeth into. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Label Networks, Inc., a leading youth culture marketing and research company, "PETA is the #1 nonprofit organization that 13-24-year-olds in North America would volunteer for" and the younger the demographic, the higher the percentages who would volunteer.
How did Newkirk help animal rights go from "Huh?" to hip? By talking to kids on their own level without talking down to them, for one thing. Through PETA's two offshoots, PETAKids and peta2, and their wildly popular respective Web sites, Newkirk has hooked teens and preteens up with many of their favorite celebrities, who also happen to be very pro-animal-from Hillary Duff and Pink to Newfound Glory's Ian Grushka and Disney Star, Ricky Williams. The list goes on and on and includes TV stars, punk rockers, and skateboarding and bike motocross champs-exactly the things that turn kids on.
Ingrid Newkirk-who is available for interviews-has been featured in Forbes, People, and the New York Times to name a few, and has appeared on Today, Oprah, Larry King Live, 60 Minutes and 20/20. Newkirk is the author of five books, as well as numerous articles on the treatment of animals.