We are SUPER excited about the imminent publication of Lonely Planet Kids’ This Is My World and can’t wait for our Toppsta readers to discover it too. It’s a truly global book that gives voice to over 80 amazing children from enormously diverse and fascinating backgrounds, revealing the unique lives of children today.
To understand more about this special book and how it came to fruition, we interviewed Christina Webb, Commissioning Editor at Lonely Planet Kids. Read on to find out what she had to say…
Why is Lonely Planet Kids publishing This is My World?
This is My World is like no other book we’ve made before. We wanted to connect with real children and their families, and showcase their everyday lives. This isn’t an illustration of what life is like for children in the 21st century – this is truly it!
We hope children, wherever they live, will relate to and engage with the 84 kids from our book, just as much as we feel that we have got to know them over the course of the project.
How long did it take you to get all the content of this book together?
Creating This is My World was a long process. First there were initial designs, questionnaires for the families to work on, and various rounds of legal work to put together. Considering the ‘real life’ complexities of the book, it took well over two years to put together.
How did you decide which children to feature in the book?
We reached out to our global network of staff, writers and other contributors from around the world, as well as our company partners and Lonely Planet Magazine offices. These contacts then spread the word too, so finding kids from across the globe became a sort of ripple effect of communication.
This resulted in me opening emails and letters from all over the world – sent in by families or friends of children who were between the ages of 7 and 11 who wanted to get involved.
I then asked these families to fill in a questionnaire, which included Q&As, and requested they attach photos of their children and them as a family, as well as showing their daily lives – from the food they eat to their favourite sports and hobbies. And we went from there.
Narrowing down our list of children was a tough task, but I feel confident that the selection in the book are a fantastic – and hugely varied – representation of kids today, with fun voices and pictures sent in to match.
*If you’d like to fill in your own two-page interview scrapbook about your life, click here.
What part of the process of putting this book together did you enjoy the most?
I loved reading through each and every child’s submission. I’d often be caught giggling at some of the unabashed things kids would send in. There were also so many heart-warming insights into familial relationships and the things that kids love and treasure the most.
What part of the process was the hardest?
I knew this book would be a difficult one to achieve and ‘get right’. We wanted to portray as much of a diverse and realistic view of the world as possible, and we had some delays in the process because it took so long getting to a final product that we were proud of – one that represents Lonely Planet Kids and the children of today.
What were some of your favourite facts you learnt about the children from the book?
I loved the cheeky little comments, things that children say without thinking too much, that in a few years’ time they’ll look back and laugh at! From Kaarlo putting in a lot of work convincing his parents to get a dog, to Djurdja describing her food fights with her dad and Zayan’s ‘secret language’ he uses with his brothers. It’s all fantastic material that we couldn’t have expected.
I’d encourage kids from all over the world to create their own two-page interview scrapbook that gives a snapshot of their life now that they can come back to when they’re older.
Toppsta also wanted to find out about Lonely Planet Kids’ partnership with War Child – £1 from every UK copy sold goes to this incredible charity – and so asked Katharine Nelson, Head of Marketing, to tell us more…
I first met War Child UK three years ago, when I attended a presentation they gave at Facebook for International Women's Day. I was so impressed that we asked them to present at a Lonely Planet brand conference. Since then, I’ve attended many War Child UK events, including one in Parliament, as well as several of their concerts. I'm always inspired by their employees' drive and commitment to their cause. The fact that I somehow ended up doing a sponsored Tough Mudder for them is definitely a testament to their passion! I was really excited when the idea of collaborating with War Child UK on a Lonely Planet Kids book came together for This Is My World, and I'm proud that their involvement helped us create a more diverse book – with the addition of two children who have grown up in armed conflict: Esther from Uganda, and Yousef from Syria, who is living in a refugee camp in Jordan. For these children to have the chance to tell us about their lives and experiences – in their own words – is extremely powerful and moving.