Human rights in Children’s literature

  • Imagination and the Narrative of Law
  • by Jonathan Todres and Sarah Higinbotham
  • Oxford University Press
  • ISBN 978 019 049318 9
  • £22.99; Paperback & Hardback
Human rights in Children’s literature
This interesting work looks at the influence children’s literature has on the foundational principles of human rights. The preface quotes Dr Seuss’s “Horton Hears a Who!” with its iconic line: “a person’s a person, no matter how small”.

The book seeks to explore the question of how human rights norms which are adopted at the global level are disseminated at a local level to actually make a difference to the lives of individuals, in particular children? And whether the themes of many children’s books might already be doing this work – educating children about their own rights and the rights of others.

Read this book if you want to see why it praises Roald Dahl’s Matilda for providing children with the context to confront discrimination, stigma and exclusion, especially when multiple forms of discrimination collide. Or why the Harry Potter books are shown as promoting methods of restorative justice and fostering cooperation among members of the community and a spirit of mutual responsibility for each other!

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