Book title: Know Your Rights (And Claim Them): A Guide for Youth
Authors: Amnesty International, Angelina Jolie, Geraldine Van Bueren QC
Publisher: Andersen Press
Book review: This isn't just a book but an actual tool that can actually empower young people around the world to know and claim their rights. You are free not to read the book from start to finish, as you'd do with a regular one, but you can skip sections and only focus on those parts who are of interest to you.
The book is conveniently divided into section and there a few major ones. Those sections tackle all children rights and give the readers an insight into how the law should protect them and their rights and how things are in reality. It is obvious most of the time governments don't uphold some or all those rights. The book also includes stories of real young people from different countries who are making or have made a difference in the place they live or in the world.
The words used can sometimes be hard to understand especially for young people living in refugee camps or who, in general, didn't have or don't have access to a good education. The authors have done their best to explain all the difficult words (there is a whole part dedicate to that at the end of the book) and to make the text easier to read thanks to boxes etc. I think that is very important for adults to read this book as well and to use it as a starting point to empower children and young people in their lives about knowing and claiming their rights (their own kids, pupils etc). These adults can eventually break down the book or the sections and use simpler words, if that is the case. I will surely be doing that and using the book as a starting point to teach kids about their human rights as I'll be travelling the world.
Then, why didn't I give it 5 stars? Because, as I was expecting, the book doesn't include children and young poeple living with life-threatining illnesses. Yes, it sometimes mention disability, hospitals or sick kids, but disability doesn't necessarly mean living with a life-threatining illness and, as I've said, these are nothing more than mentions. The amount of information provided about all the topics doesn't really include young people who are forced to stay in hospital for a long time, or who may be at home but being so sick to be unable to get out of bed. I run my own charity to support young people with cancer and when I've heard the book was in the making I contacted Amnesty, because I was afraid they wouldn't include these young people, they have been very kind but in the end they didn't include those young people. Which are a young person's rights about deciding about their own death? And what if parents/doctors don't want them to know what is really going on? These are just the first two examples who came to my mind. It's like, and this sadly often happens, these young people are not really included until they get at least a little better, and to me that is wrong.
That being said, I strongly encourage anyone to read this book, regardless of your age, where your live and so on. It doesn't offer all the answers, but it does its best to point you in the right direction. I think this book is much needed, especially at this time with so much going on in the world. This can actually be a powerful tool to encourage more young people to get into activism and to possibly save lives. Knowing our own rights, and the rights of others, is the first step to fight for them. I congratulate all the authors for this much needed tool, and I can only imagine the effort in bringing this to life. I hope many countries will translate it and provide the book to as many of their young people as possible.
Getting a bit deeper: I approached this book knowing I didn't know much about childrens' rights. I work as a writer with a strong focus on social issues, and in my heart I know we all should have access to human rights, including children and young people, yet I wouldn't have been able to list all the childrens' rights or to guide any young person on actually claiming them so this book has been very useful and I think it'll be for many people. If you want to learn more about childrens' rights, you can read and download The Convention on The Rights of The Child or you can enroll in this free online course provided by Amnesty International, "An Introduction to Child Rights". You can see all the other online courses provided by Amnesty Human Rights Acadamy here.
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