July 23, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

Former President Jimmy Carter speaks about his first book for children, Talking Peace: A Vision for the Next Generation:

Young people can play a major role in shaping government policies; their fresh voices are significant. I have seven grandchildren, and I wrote this book with them in mind. I was also influenced by my own children’s experiences: In the late ’60s my three boys were involved in civil rights and Vietnam (one son was there fighting while two were here protesting against it). Later, my daughter, Amy, felt very deeply about U.S. involvement in Nicaragua. At a young age, she had as much ability to assess the quality of the future as many adults did.

So for us, politics is a family thing. Whenever I come back from a political trip, I write a little report that I send to my grandchildren. Now, when you talk to children about human rights, it’s difficult to express yourself in words a 7-year-old can understand. But with a little preparation, you can explain that human rights are really a matter of having a home to live in and food to eat. If we understand our problems and attack them, we can all help, whether we’re able to influence 10 people or 10,000.

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