Has Chelsea Clinton written a children's book? Not really.
Chelsea Clinton has written a wonky, 402-page non-fiction tome and call-to-action dense with charts, graphs, statistics, and bullet points about the world's great challenges.
"It's Your World," may be a children's book, but it's no storybook fairy tale starring wizards, princesses, or zombies.
No, it's a wonky, 402-page non-fiction tome and call-to-action dense with charts, graphs, statistics, and bullet points about the world's great challenges – global poverty, climate change, gender inequality, disease.
Surprised? Don't be. The author is none other than Chelsea Clinton, the multiple-degreed daughter of perhaps the most recognized parents in the world.
The former first daughter says she was inspired to write the book, which hit shelves Sept. 15, after conversations with young people revealed “how much more engaged they are in the world than I think adults think they are, and how much kids really do want to be treated seriously, particularly when talking about what they recognize are serious issues," as she told the Chicago Tribune.
In the book, Clinton leverages her own experiences and interests as the former first daughter to explore the world's problems, offer historical context and supporting data, then propose some solutions, including things kids can do to make a difference. It's designed to empower and engage kids.
On some levels, it succeeds.
Readers gain insight into her distinctive childhood – Sunday morning church and trips to the library, as well as around the world, meeting women's rights activists in India and Ebola survivors in Liberia.
“I’m really fortunate in that my parents worked to exposed me to so much of the world, and I was expected to read a newspaper and sit there with my mother listening to NPR radio – and not only pay attention, but have an opinion and a point of view,” Clinton told the UK's Telegraph.
And, adds the New York Times, Clinton "succeeds in making even the knottiest issues seem accessible," with practical advice and action points at the end of each chapter, like suggestions to donate clothes to homeless shelters, organize bake sales, or share with friends the importance of vaccinations.
She also highlights inspiring kids and organizations making a difference, like the microloan nonprofit Kiva; the charity Heifer International, which provides livestock to and training to poor families across the globe; and Turn Grease Into Fuel, a project started by then-fifth-grader Cassandra Lin to use restaurants' donated used cooking oil to heat homes.
But, according to reviews, the book is also dense, dull, and didactic.
"Think of it as the literary version of a sad trombone," writes The Washington Post.
The Post's and other reviews lament it's didactic tone, dull personal stories, and nonstop river of information – including, by one count, "at least 51 charts, maps, and graphs, including one illustrating the global elimination of the Guinea worm and another titled “Common Types of Cancer in the U.S., 2015.”
Is this really a book for kids? Perhaps it's for a younger Chelsea Clinton, who once wrote a letter to President Reagan when she was five years old.