January 15, 2009
Contact:
Jacqueline Cartier, NPR


   

SEVEN YEAR OLD SHARES HIS BELIEFS
ON NPR’S THIS I BELIEVE SERIES

YOUNGEST EVER THIS I BELIEVE ESSAYIST
READS HIS LIST OF “30 THINGS THAT I BELIEVE”
ON NPR’S WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY, JANUARY 18




January 15, 2009; Washington, D.C. – From beliefs commonly accepted on the playground to views shared with those ten times his age, seven-year-old Tarak McLain from Austin, Texas, will soon become the youngest essayist to share his beliefs with NPR listeners in the popular weekly This I Believe series. McLain will read his beliefs in the form of a list during NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday on January 18. For local stations and broadcast times for the program, visit www.NPR.org/stations

Inspired by newsman Edward R. Murrow’s 1950’s radio program of the same name, This I Believe features Americans from all walks of life and ages expressing their core beliefs and values in short, personal essays.

McLain met This I Believe producer Jay Allison at a book reading in Austin, and stunned Allison when he produced a list of 100 things that he believes, inspired by listening to the weekly program with his mother. The list was pared down to McLain’s favorite 30 beliefs for the NPR broadcast, and includes inspirational and remarkable observations from the first grader, which are applicable to all ages. Among McLain’s beliefs:

No. 8: “I believe brothers and sisters should be kind to each other.”
No. 14: “I believe people should use less trees.”
No. 19: “I believe in magic.”
No. 27: “I believe it’s ok to die but not to kill.”

Tarak McLain’s number one belief resonates as a collective of beliefs 1 to 30, stating simply: “I believe life is good.”

McLain joins a growing list of well-known and everyday essayists who have contributed to the series since its premiere in 2005, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates; Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel; skateboarding pro Tony Hawk; activist Gloria Steinem; and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. More than 55,000 NPR listeners have also submitted essays to This I Believe. Essays chosen for broadcast have ranged from revelations about parents, personal struggles, race and identity, to the importance of feeding monkeys, and now views from a seven year old boy.

This I Believe essay writing has been incorporated into the activities of schools, community groups, places of worship as well as birthday celebrations, weddings and funerals. A new essay airs each week, alternating among the NPR newsmagazines All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Tell Me More. The series is a collaboration between NPR and This I Believe, Inc., produced by Dan Gediman and Jay Allison, with John Gregory and Viki Merrick.

To date, This I Believe essays have ranked among the top e-mailed stories on NPR.org. To listen or to read past essays, please visit www.NPR.org/thisibelieve