“What makes your heart explode with imagination?” This is a question that Hannah Alper asked Martin Sheen at WE Day Vancouver and when I read the text from her interview I was completely impressed. I really enjoyed her speech and have been following her on Twitter for some time because she’s just amazing. She is a teen blogger with an impressive bio, a motivational speaker, world changer and published author. She has a huge heart and a drive to take action about the causes that matter to her. She recently released her book, Momentus: Small Acts, Big Change. Hannah Alper took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with me and I’m so grateful she did. She also sent me a copy of her book to read, which was super generous and I will be reviewing down the road, so watch for that. This was our conversation.
Congratulations on your book coming out, by the way, do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
The first thing is to always do your research, whether you’re writing about whether it’s about a person or an issue, definitely know what you’re talking about. And it gets easier and it’s so worth it when you have the book in your hands.
Lots of kids out there think they are too young to make a difference. What do you say to that?
That you’re not too young, too old, too popular, too cool, you don’t have too much money and you’re not too young. Age isn’t a barrier to making a difference, at least it shouldn’t be. We have to surround ourselves with people who will tell us “You’re not too young.” Being young is in a lot of ways a great advantage because we can talk about issues and we have all of these tools and resources at our fingertips and we can talk about them. Being a young person doesn’t block that.
How can we as parents support our kids in influencing the world around them?
Exposing them to issues to around the world. Not shielding them to issues. I know that a lot of parents don’t want their kids to make a difference or show them issues because they want to shield them and they don’t want them to be angry or upset or devastated. If you show your kid an issue about anything, I mean, when I was 9 I loved animals and so my parents showed me climate change and deforestation and animal habitat loss. I became really devastated for like a second and I felt helpless for a second but then I started a blog about it and I took action. Don’t be afraid of them being sad or helpless because that feeling of helplessness will really turn into motivation for them to do something.
You’ve had an amazing year. What are the highlights for you in 2017 and what are you most excited about coming up?
So many. 2017 was such a fantastic year. It was a really great year. I went to Kenya twice in 2017 which was fantastic and I went on my very first youth trip. I really found my people and I got to talk to people who were making a difference, people my age who are making a difference. I got to travel all over the world talking to people about how they can create a positive impact in the world. It was a really incredible year, I met some amazing people and I wrote the book talking about how people can make a difference, the little things that people can do to make a difference and that we have to do it together. I interviewed 90 of my role models which were incredible and really, what I’m doing in 2017 is a lot of making a difference and hopefully inspiring people to go out and take action in their schools, their homes, their communities and the world.
You have really amazing interviewing skills, I love the questions that you ask people. How do you approach your interviews?
I really, really admire all the people that I interviewed. They all inspire me in all different ways. I interviewed people like Lily Singh who inspired me with how much of a boss she is and how she hustles and how she’s using her platform to create change and I’m inspired by Marc & Craig Kielburger because they showed me that you’re never too young to make a difference. No matter how big or small the impact is. And Severn Suzuki showed me that you can also make a difference no matter how young you are and she also showed me what one of my gifts was, public speaking, when I was 9 years old. And I guess I got all these really good questions because I know who they are and these are questions I’ve had in me for as long as I’ve known them so Severn Suzuki and Mark & Craig Kielburger, I’ve been wanting to ask them these questions for six years and so it was just a matter of putting it on paper.
What was the experience like being at WE Day?
It’s really, an experience and a feeling like you’ll never forget. I remember when I walked into my very first WE Day and it was in Toronto and I knew the second that I walked in that those were my my people. These were all people that had made a difference, these were all people who had discovered their issue, dicovered their gift, and were doing something to make a difference. At the time where I went, I was nine years old and I hadn’t really found other young people who were doing the same thing I was doing and so seeing this stadium full of tens of thousands of young people really empowered me and made me feel like I wasn’t alone. And feeling like you aren’t alone in making a difference is one of the most powerful feelings you will ever have.
I am so grateful that Hannah Alper took some time to chat with me and share her wisdom. I appreciate her so much for her skills as a writer, interviewer and speaker and know she has an exceptionally bright future ahead of her. Grab your copy of her book here and make sure to follow Hannah Alper on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.