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Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

A homeless man searching desperately for work. A single mother refusing to let go of the past. A disfigured war veteran, unable to fit in anywhere. At first glance, these sound like hopeless situations, and that's exactly what they were, until 11-year-old Trevor McKinney, came into the picture, determined to make the world a better place. With a lot of ambition and a big dream, Trevor begins a project, starting with a simple idea in social studies class, that would change the world forever.

“Think of an idea for world change, and put it into action.” That's what Mr. St. Clair, Trevor's social studies teacher who was severely ­injured in the Vietnam War, wrote on the board on the first day of school – a simple project that would eventually turn into a nationwide effort. Motivated by the project, Trevor comes up with the idea of “paying it forward,” instead of paying someone back for a good deed. Trevor would find one person to help out, one situation to change for the better, and that person would be required to do the same for three others. This would continue as a chain reaction until the whole world had been affected.

At first, Trevor's mother, Arlene, is opposed to the idea, telling Trevor that he's in over his head. But even though things seem hopeless at points, the project eventually gets going and gains national media attention. Soon, the whole community is paying it forward, then the whole state, then the whole country, and eventually the whole world.

This book is moving and inspiring in more ways than one. It shows that no matter how small or insignificant we might think we are, we can change the world for the better. Trevor's story shows that even the smallest act of kindness can have a lasting impact. When I was reading this book, I could relate to the characters in a lot of ways, which is what makes this a great story and a modern classic.

With a wide range of characters and scenarios, the situations here are applicable in to any type of reader. If you prefer a book with a deeper meaning that really makes you think, you'll love Pay It Forward. Inspirational and moving, it maintains a dynamic plot that keeps the reader involved and interested. Trevor's story will definitely motivate you to make a change in your own community and, who knows, maybe the whole world.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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