BOOKS

Cover of Our Rights: How Kids are Changing the World
Our Rights: How Kids Are Changing the World
By Janet Wilson. Toronto: Second Story Press, 2013. 32 pages, $18.95 (hardcover) Suitable for Junior/Intermediate
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Reviewed by Katherine Nix

Our Rights tells true stories of incredibly courageous children around the world who stand up for children's rights, whether locally or globally. There is the story of a girl in India who, at the age of 15, refused to be married and began a beekeeping business to pay her way through school. There is also Nujood in Yemen, who boldly and successfully sued for divorce at the age of 10. Then there is Zach, an American boy who walked 3,988 kilometres between the ages of six and 12 for his self-started Little Red Wagon campaign, which raises awareness and gathers supplies for children who are homeless or displaced due to natural disasters. In total, the brave acts of 10 children are described in detail. Over 10 other lion-hearted youth are also captured in photos placed throughout the book and in the author's beautiful illustrations.

The quotes, stories, and poems help drive home a few important lessons. Human rights and the rights of the child remain in jeopardy around the world. Children are not just our future, they are our present, and if a child helps even one other person that is a difference that matters. Children are too inexperienced to recognize the impossible, and for that reason they are often able to make an even bigger difference than an adult.

This book would be useful for Junior and Intermediate social studies and language arts. It is fairly text-heavy for younger grades, so teachers may need to read one story each day or split the class into groups for a read-and-share activity. Many of the kids featured in the book have Youtube videos or websites that can be used to further spark discussion about children's rights, war, conflict, and many other interesting subjects.

Our Rights is for any teacher looking to inspire children to be aware of and do something about injustice to children within the global community. Readers of all ages will be impressed and awed. 

Katherine Nix is a member of the Ottawa Carleton Teacher Local.

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