I Have the Right to Be a Child

Overview


With a very simple text accompanied by rich, vibrant illustrations a young narrator describes what it means to be a child with rights — from the right to food, water and shelter, to the right to go to school, to the right to be free from violence, to the right to breathe clean air, and much more. The book emphasizes that these rights belong to every child on the planet, whether they are “black or white, small or big, rich or poor, born here or somewhere else.” It also makes evident that knowing and talking about...
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Overview


With a very simple text accompanied by rich, vibrant illustrations a young narrator describes what it means to be a child with rights — from the right to food, water and shelter, to the right to go to school, to the right to be free from violence, to the right to breathe clean air, and much more. The book emphasizes that these rights belong to every child on the planet, whether they are “black or white, small or big, rich or poor, born here or somewhere else.” It also makes evident that knowing and talking about these rights are the first steps toward making sure that they are respected.

A brief afterword explains that the rights outlined in the book come from the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989. The treaty sets out the basic human rights that belong to children all over the world, recognizing that children need special protection since they are more vulnerable than adults. It has been ratified by 193 countries, with the exception of Somalia and the United States. Once a country has ratified the document, they are legally bound to comply with it and to report on their efforts to do so. As a result, some progress has been made, not only in awareness of children’s rights, but also in their implementation. But there are still many countries, wealthy and poor, where children’s basic needs are not being met.

To read a summary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, go to www.unicef.org/crc/files/Rights_overview.pdf.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child is written in dense legalese, making it hard for the group it protects to understand it. Serres (And Picasso Painted Guernica) reframes the document’s articles in the voice of a child: “I have the right to go to school and to refuse to go to work. I’ll choose a job when I’ve learned everything I want to know!” Fronty (Animals of the Bible for Young Children) paints naïf, folk art–like figures in a palette of jewel colors, suggestive of a series of slightly surreal Persian miniatures. Read aloud, the cumulative effect of Serres’s words is inspiring; children may sit up straighter as they hear that someone has thought about all the things they need: “I have the right to be free from any kind of violence, and no one has the right to take advantage of me because I am a child. No one.” In the context of a classroom discussion, this is a powerful work, and a handsome one. An afterword notes that the U.S. is one of only three countries not party to the convention. Ages 4–7. (June)
From the Publisher

"Provocative and guaranteed to spark awareness of children's rights." — Kirkus, starred review

"…is a powerful work, and a handsome one." — Publishers Weekly

"…folk-like, colorful illustrations…" —IRA Reading Today Online

"I am a child with eyes, hands, a voice, a heart, and rights. I have the right to a first name, a last name, a family that smiles at me, and a country that is my home. I have the right to have enough food to eat and water to drink so that I can grow."
— from the book

Children's Literature - Jody Little
Author Serres writes a beautiful picture book sharing the concept that all children have personal rights. Children have the right to basic needs such as food, water, and shelter, but also the right to an education, the right to be free from violence, the right to breathe clean air, the right to be protected by adults, and the right to play, sing and dance. Regardless of age, sex, race, or personal income, all children have these rights, and everyone must respect them. Information about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is shared in the afterword, including a list of the states that support these rights. Illustrator Fronty uses dazzling colors and carefree, creative images of people and animals to enrich the message on each page. Readers and listeners will delight in the illustration details that are so lovingly included. This book would make a wonderful addition to any library, classroom, or home book shelf. Reviewer: Jody Little
Kirkus Reviews
From the bold opening assertion, "I am a child with eyes, hands, a voice, a heart, and rights," to the urgent closing plea, "We need our rights to be respected now--today," this primer invites young readers to think about their universal rights as children as embodied in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. An engaging child narrator explains that kids have a right to: a name, a family, a country, food and water, shelter, medicines and help if their bodies don't "work as well as other children's." Kids have a right to go to school, to refuse to work, to express themselves, to play and create, to be protected from disasters and wars, to be free from violence, and to breathe air "pure as the blue sky." These rights apply to all children regardless of gender, race, size, wealth or country if they live in one of the 193 countries ratifying the Convention. Readers may be surprised, however, to discover the United States is not one of these countries. Engagingly naive acrylic illustrations spanning double-page spreads evoke Chagall in their use of flat patterns, swirling lines, vibrant hues, and symbolic, powerful dream-like images of the repertoire of children's rights. Provocative and guaranteed to spark awareness of children's rights. (note on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; list of states party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) (Picture book. 4-7)
Pamela Paul
…a child-friendly version of the rights outlined in the United Nations General Assembly's Convention on the Rights of the Child…Unsurprisingly, the official list of these rights is written in unwieldy bureaucratese. But in Alain Serres's powerful and inspiring picture book…the words are simplified for young children and narrated in the first person…Aurélia Fronty's naïf-style illustrations, which resemble those of Giselle Potter, are bright and colorful…
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554981496
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 5/22/2012
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 625,723
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Alain Serres was a kindergarten teacher who was inspired by his young students to write children’s books. He has since published more than one hundred titles for children of all ages, many of which have been translated into other languages. In 1996 Serres founded the highly regarded French publishing house Rue du Monde, whose mission is to provide children with books that allow them to question and imagine the world. He lives in Paris.

Aure´lia Fronty studied textile design at l’E´cole Duperre´ in Paris and worked in fashion before she began to illustrate children’s books. Her colorful, nai¨ve-style art is inspired by her Catalan roots as well as her travels in Africa, Asia and South America. She has illustrated more than forty titles, which have been published around the world. She has also exhibited her art in France and in the United Kingdom. She lives in Montreuil, France.

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Read an Excerpt


I am a child with eyes, hands, a voice, a heart and rights.

I have the right to a first name, a last name, a family that smiles at me, and a country that is my home.

I have the right to have enough food to eat and water to drink so that I can grow. My favorite thing is an orange. You can eat it or drink its juice!

I have the right to live under a roof, to be warm but not too hot, not to be poor and to have just enough of what I need, not more.

I have the right to be cured with the best medicines that were ever invented.

And to run and jump and climb and shout:

“It’s so wonderful to feel good!”

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