Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Read for Rights on International Children's Day

Need a break from the Gettysburg Address and JFK assassination anniversaries? How about a celebrating International Children's Day by learning about some great children's books?

The panel discussion above is from last year's PEN World Voices Festival and takes its inspiration from Janusz Korczak, the Polish educator and orphanage director who chose to stay with his charges upon transfer to the Warsaw Ghetto and Treblinka, where he was killed. Author Patricia McCormick further explores the theme of genocide in her book Never Fall Down, along with the subject of the book, Cambodian genocide survivor, musician and activist Arn Chorn-Pond (also the subject of the film, The Flute Player). Debby Dahl Edwardson's novel, My Name Is Not Easy, was a National Book Award finalist and concerns the impact of boarding school on the language and culture of Inupiaq children  in the 1960s. Polish journalist Wojciech Jagielski, the author of a book (for adults) about child soldiers, The Night Wanderers: Uganda's Children and the Lord's Resistance Armyrounds out the panel.  I was inspired to read both McCormick and Edwardson's books after listening to this panel and recommend them for young readers interested in learning more about human rights through stories about their peers. Arn Chorn-Pond's story of survival and healing, in particular, is an inspiring one for people of all ages.

To learn more about children's rights, please visit Amnesty International's FAQ on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and while you're at the site, take action on behalf of Syrian children.

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