CM . . .
. Volume XVIIII Number 2. . . .September 14, 2012
An unseen narrator describes the fundamental human rights that belong to children worldwide. In straightforward, declarative sentences, the articles outlined in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child are reframed for a younger audience, including the right to shelter, food and medical care. The child-friendly text includes personal comments from the narrator, comments such as, “My favorite thing is an orange. You can eat it or drink its juice!” and “I have the right to go to school without having to pay, so that I can learn how birds or planes or poppy seeds fly.” The scope is universal: “I have exactly the same right to be respected, whether I am black or white, small or big, rich or poor, born here or somewhere else.” Ecological rights, such as breathing clean air and learning about “peace and respect for our planet”, are also included.
Aurélia Fronty’s folk art illustrations feature lots of primary, vibrant colours. Many scenes have a dreamlike quality, including the image of a multicultural group of children studying their lessons on the wings of a bird while letters of the alphabet and math equations float in the sky. In other scenes, violence is represented as an angry wolf with bared teeth casting a dark shadow on a frightened, solitary child.
An afterword includes more information on the United Nation’s Convention and lists the 193 countries that have signed the agreement (The United States, Somalia and South Sudan are the only three members of the United Nations where it has not been ratified). Sobering and thought-provoking, this book is a powerful discussion starter on children’s rights both here in Canada and around the world.
Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.
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