I just finished reading Make it Zero by Mary Frances Bowley and I have to say that it wasn’t exactly what I expected. I expected expert advice, tons of statistics and practical tips on how to get involved in “the movement to safeguard every child”. What I received in this book was all of that and so much more. Going into this book, I already knew quite a bit about child abuse, neglect and poverty – at least from a distance. I have read the statistics. I have heard a few stories. I have been through foster/adopt training. I thought I knew some things. After reading this book, I realize that I don’t really know much at all. Not really.
Make It Zero is filled with stories. Tons of them. Some of them made me think, some made me gasp and more than one of them made me cry – especially the ones near the end of the book. There are five areas covered in this book: poverty, hunger, isolation, abuse and trafficking. The authors very carefully chose stories that go along with each of the areas to help the reader understand the realities of each of these five areas. I can imagine that if someone were to read this book with zero knowledge of the subject, they would be quite shocked at the statistics and stories provided in these pages.
Each section begins with a definition, statistics and a quote or two and each section ends with very practical ways to get involved. My favorite part of this book is that it gives ideas for everyone to get involved: children, families, parents, schools, churches – and it makes suggestions for groups, individuals, teaching opportunities, how to talk to your kids, and much more. There are also tons of resources listed throughout this book to gather more information, get more involved or even to receive free training on how to help keep our kids safe.
Whether you have kids or you don’t, whether you work at a church, a medical facility or a school, whether you think you know everything there is to know or you know nothing at all on this subject – you need to read this book. I wholeheartedly agree with this statement from the author, “I believe that massive intentional living with eyes alerted to children around us and loving care could drastically change our world.”