Human Rights Day

December 10, 2015 | Charlene Lee

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On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration was founded on the values of freedom, justice, and peace for all.

Human Rights Day (December 10) annually commemorates this significant document and is a reminder of the injustices around the world when these rights are forgotten. Introducing complicated issues to little ones can oftentimes seem arduous, but one approach is through storytelling. Through thoughtful narrative, children can learn about different issues around the world and connect through meaningful discussion.

"Our Rights, Our Freedoms, Always"

TPL's collection is a trove of titles that celebrate our diversities, and also explore complex issues. The Advanced Picture book (APIC) section is a great place to find powerful and sentimental stories that also engage readers and encourage critical literacy. The following are just a few titles you could share with your young readers at home as we celebrate human rights.


White Water by Michael S. Bandy and Eric SteinWhite Water by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein illus. by Shadra Strickland

On a scorching hot day, Michael and his grandma take the bus into town to run some errands. Displeased with the "Coloured" water fountain, Michael longs to drink the enticing water for "WHITES ONLY". Tormented by dreams of icy cold and fresh water, Michael is determined to drink from the exclusive fountain no matter what.



Shin-chi's Canoe by Nicola I. Campbell Shin-chi's Canoe by Nicola I. Campbell illus. by Kim LaFave

This is the beautiful sequel to Shi-shi-etcko which tells the story of two siblings' experience at residential school. Their time is filled with going to mass, learning to cook and sew, and working in the field. The children are lonely as they await for the return of the sockeye salmon when they know they will be reunited with their family.


Wall by Tom Clohosy ColeWall by Tom Clohosy Cole

A young boy and his family are separated from their father with the construction of the Berlin Wall. With striking illustrations and minimal text, this story shows the family's struggles and triumph during this time of adversity.




The Promise by Nicola DaviesThe Promise by Nicola Davies illus. by Laura Carlin

On the mean streets of a broken, nameless city, a young girl steals from an old lady. The young thief isn't rewarded with jewels or riches, but with a chance to change the world and spread a message of good and kindness.



The Stamp Collectore by Jennifer LanthierThe Stamp Collector by Jennifer Lanthier illus. by François Thisdale

"This is the story of not long ago and not far away. It is the story of a boy who loved stamps and a boy who loved words. This is the story of a life that was lost. And found". The Stamp Collector tells the story of two boys united by stories and imagination, and the influence of words and pictures.  Inspired by real writers, The Stamp Collector delicately explores freedom of speech and censorship.