Picks and Pans Review: Save the Children

UPDATED 09/29/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/29/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT

• In her new book The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small, Children's Defense Fund president Marian Wright Edelman challenges parents, educators, leaders—all of us—to pitch in and shape up our world for the youngest generation.

I'm a new grandmother [to Ellika, 7, Zoe, 5, Elijah, 3, and Levi, 3]. I'm obsessed with leaving them a better world.

War, education, health care. While I'm proud of what's happening with race and gender in our presidential race, we have a huge population of children left behind. Eighty percent of minority fourth graders aren't reading at grade level. A child is killed by guns every three hours.

It's about waking up, getting off your duff, seeing our problems clearly and solving them. It's [the CDF's] 35th anniversary year—I would've hoped we'd be out of business by now. People say, 'You do such wonderful work,' and I think, 'Help!' We've all got to.

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