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I Believe in ZERO:
Learning From the World's Children

New book from Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF

Caryl Stern USF

In her moving new book, "I Believe in ZERO," President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Caryl M. Stern offers memorable stories from her travels around the world, bringing back powerful and sometimes counter-intuitive lessons about life.

"The book reflects the essence of UNICEF's mission – and the fact that we are working every day to cut the number of preventable child deaths from 18,000 each day to zero," says Stern. "I hope that by telling the stories of the remarkable mothers and children I've met in my travels, I can inspire others to support this important work."

Each of the stories in "I Believe in ZERO" focuses on a particular locale—Bangladesh, Mozambique, earthquake-ravaged Haiti, the Brazilian Amazon—and weaves together fascinating material on the country and its history, accounts of recent humanitarian crises, and encounters with people she meets on the ground.

Stern tells of mothers coming together to effect change, of local communities with valuable perspectives of their own, and of children who continue to sustain their dreams and hopes even in the most dire of situations. Throughout, Stern traces her emerging global consciousness—and describes how these stories can positively impact our own children.

What People Are Saying

"Caryl Stern is an inspiration for anyone contemplating a life of service. Throughout her travels, whether to war zones, the sites of humanitarian or natural disasters, or to distant places where UNICEF has been working away for the long haul, she has always taken the time to talk to children, families and communities, to understand their lives and the issues they face, and their hopes and dreams. I Believe in ZERO: Learning From The World's Children should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in making sure that every child has the chance to grow, thrive and reach their potential – and indeed, in changing the world!"
Lucy Liu, UNICEF Ambassador

"Caryl understands how important children are. Through this book she takes us to some of her travels and experiences with UNICEF and shows her passion for protecting the world's most vulnerable children, helping us understand the need of all of us working towards the day when Zero children die from preventable causes."
Pau Gasol - NBA All-Star/UNICEF Ambassador

"I Believe in ZERO" should be on every classroom shelf, and on every mom's kitchen table. I fell in love with UNICEF and its mission the day I started interning for the organization in 2006.   Recently, having my own baby has solidified, even more, the grave importance of UNICEF’s work and their commitment to ZERO.  My daughter Mila has helped me to better understand the desires and pain of the mothers I met through my travels with UNICEF.  I have learned so much from them...they taught me that ALL mothers want similar things: the chance for their kids to live healthy, happy, productive lives.  Caryl is one such mother, to her own children and to the children of the world.  “I Believe in ZERO” does exactly what she set out to do: show the world that through her own personal experiences with UNICEF she has learned, as I have, that every child and mother can be a true inspiration.” - Jenna Bush Hager, Founding Chair, UNICEF's Next Generation

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Discussion Guides

Choose I Believe in ZERO as your next book club selection and download the free Adult Discussion Guide to inform your conversation. The guide includes questions for discussion and reflection, facts and statistics about child survival, an interview with the author, and ways to support UNICEF’s work.

Encourage your local high school to assign I Believe in ZERO, or select chapters from the book, as a student reading. The free accompanying Teacher’s Guide provides four lessons that bring readings from the book into the curriculum in meaningful ways. The guide also includes ways that students can take action in support of child rights and alignment to National Content and Common Core State Standards.

About the Author

CARYL M. STERN has spent more than 30 years in the non-profit sector as a child advocate and civil rights activist. Since May 2007, she's served as President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, leading the day-to-day work of the organization's National Office and five Regional Offices. Prior to this and other roles at the U.S. Fund, Stern served as the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Associate National Director for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). She lives with her family in New York.

Appearances and Events

Caryl will be sharing more about I Believe in ZERO at a number of readings, signings, and other events across the country this fall. Click here for a full schedule.

Book Cover: I Believe in ZERO by Caryl Stern

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