Free?: Stories About Human Rights Paperback – Apr 27 2010
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"Our book Free? is a reminder of what a huge leap was taken when someone wrote down our rights and the world agreed. And we want children to realize that the rights most of us can take for granted were won and struggled for." — David Almond — Quote
About the Author
Amnesty International is a nonprofit organization that works to protect human rights around the world.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In this new volume, edited by one of the world's leading non-governmental organizations to protect people's human rights around the world, fourteen writers each contribute a short piece that illustrates his or her interpretations of a particle article in the UDHR. These short stories, verses, and scripts depict in the clearest and most touching ways how rights to such entities as an education, equal treatment, free speech, rest from work, and a home can make all the difference between a life of decency and one of despair.
This book makes a fine introduction, in a dignified and age-appropriate way, for young readers to gain an early appreciation of economic rights as human rights, and of the ever-present need to advocate for social justice no matter how small or large the scope of the injustice.
If you are a parent or a teacher who wants to teach about human rights, then you might find a story or two (such as the one about Hurricane Katrina, and there are certainly other resources that tell about that) that could serve as an introduction that would be followed by your own explanation of what happens/has happened in the real world. Unfortunately, this book pretty much gives a story and then afterwards names (not describes) the particular human right. There's no explanation for the more fable-like stories of what has happened in real life, like who has violated that particular human right. No facts, no short history, no specific names except for one (out of 15) story's author's note about Zimbabwe. (Two other author notes are also included, but one is solely about how the author likes to write and the other just gives the most basic overview of Katrina, which is too basic to be informative).
I remember reading about the Holocaust in 7th grade. Young adults can handle the truth, if presented properly (by which I mean, for example, avoiding describing in detail the worst violence or rapes). Perhaps Amnesty International felt internal pressure to accept the stories that were presented by the authors, but I'm not sure really how the stories really contributed to anything. I felt that the fable-like stories were too childish. You often knew the ending or the moral by the second page. I can't see this book holding much interest, and I think I finished it solely because it was what I happened to have.
None of the stories made me feel "wow," or were particularly memorable in a good way. This book would have been so much improved if they had done even an introduction or a conclusion with real information. It could also have referred to some real resources at least, since they did not bother to provide much real information. In my opinion, I also would have preferred having the human right Convention named before the story rather than afterwards, as I felt that would have put more emphasis on thinking about the human right than thinking about the particular story (particularly so for the more fable-like stories instead of the ones that were based on some actual real-world truth).
So, despite wanting to like this book, and believing that human rights are important to teach, I just feel like I wasted my time. I picked the book up really cheap and still feel ripped off. Not something I would have paid for had I looked at it in a store, so I would definitely say that it isn't worth the list price.