Alain Serres (text) & Aurélia Fronti (illustrations)
“J’ai le droit d’être un enfant”, translated by Sarah Ardizzone
(Phoenix Yard Books)
The Convention of the Rights of the Child was written in 1989 but the original text is barely accessible to those whom it concerns the most: children. Having rights is also not an easy concept for young children to understand: what they are, why we have them, why people in certain parts of the world are denied them. I Have the Rights to be a Child takes some of the of the statements of the Convention and, using a child’s voice, explains them in accessible language and concepts.
The artwork, created with acrylic paints, uses bright and vibrant colours which embrace multiculturalism and diversity. This will again open many discussions about cultural heritage and differences, and encourage acceptance. The use of symbolism within the artwork is particularly inspired and effective: expressing the threat of violence as the big bad wolf for example is very powerful, and will help young readers reflect on the significance of the statement.
Both text and illustrations together will help open the eyes of many young readers about rights but also about the wider world: children living in poverty, in fear, with a lack of education. To most Western children, this is something they will be unfamiliar with, and sometimes even, totally ignorant of.
The last spread brings a powerful conclusion to the book:
because right now
is when we are children.
I Have the Right to Be a Child is a wonderful thought-provoking book which deserves to be read and discussed, both at home and in the classroom. It promotes the idea that we are first and foremost citizens of the world, entitled to the same rights and freedom. It might sound idealistic, possibly unrealistic, but of we don’t try to encourage our children to think that way, what chance have we got?
I Have the Right to Be a Child is endorsed by Amnesty International UK.
Illustrations © Aurélia Fronty
Source: review copy from publisher