Thursday, November 20, 2014

November 20th is Children's Day

Children's Day 2014
Google has changed their logo to recognize the day and remind the millions of users of it's importance.

Today, November 20th, is the day the world celebrates children and is dedicated to raising awareness about exploitation, abuse, discrimination and crimes against children. 

This date was chosen because it is the anniversary of the United Nations adopting the Declaration of Rights of the Child (1959)and the Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989). Begun in 1954, The UN invited countries worldwide to devote November 20th of each year to "promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world."  This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention. In those 25 years, infant mortality has declined.  School enrollment has increased. Of course, there is still much more to be done.  Read part of the UN Secretarial-General's message below.

There are many picture books that deal with the issue of children's rights.  Here are some that we use in my libraries:

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams
In a refugee camp, two girls each claim a sandal as they have no shoes.  Realizing that the other girl as the matching shoe, they decide to share the sandal rather than have one go without. 
Ryan and Jimmy: And the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together by Herb Shoveller
Ryan, at the age of six, learns that many children in the world don't have safe drinking water and becomes an activist, raising money to build a well in Africa.
The Roses in My Carpets by Rukhsana Khan
War leads a family to move to a refugee camp.  The young son must find ways to provide for his family instead of going to school.
You and Me and Home Sweet Home by George Ella Lyon
 Sharonda and her mother are close to being homeless, staying with reluctant relatives until a group offers help.
Way Home by Libby Hathorn
 The story of a homeless boy called Shane who, whilst travelling across the city one night, befriends a cat.
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
A celebration of the world’s diverse cultures, both our similarities and differences.
For Every Child by Unicef
Ten principles which make up the Universal Rights of the Child - from the right to a name and a nationality and protection for handicapped children to the right of education and play - are illustrated.
Angel Child, Dragon Child by Michele Maria Surat
 Examines culture shock when an immigrant child moves from Vietnam to America and how students make fun of her and her experiences adapting to her new home. Understanding and friendship evolve.
Marianthe's Story: Painted Words and Spoken Memories by Aliki
In Painted Words, Marianthe's paintings help her to become less of an outsider as she struggles to adjust to a new language and a new school.   In Spoken Memories, a proud Mari is finally able to use her new words to narrate the sequence of paintings she created, and share with her classmates her memories of her homeland and the events that brought her family to their new country.
Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
A little girl longs to see beyond the scary sights on the sidewalk and the angry scribbling in the halls of her building. 
Welcoming Babies by Margy Burns Knight
Welcoming Babies shows the diverse ways we welcome new life around the world. It can be a springboard for discussions on traditions and culture.
The Story of Ruby Brides by Robert Cole
A little girl standing alone in the face of racism when she tries to get an education.
I Have the Right to Be a Child by Alain Serres
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 be free from violence, to breathe clean air, and more.

Secretary-General of the UN's Message for 2014

The one thing all children have in common is their rights. Every child has the right to survive and thrive, to be educated, to be free from violence and abuse, to participate and to be heard.

These are innate human rights, as inalienable as those held by adults. But until 1989, these rights were not formally articulated in a legally binding instrument, nor were governments fully accountable to advance these rights for every child.

This all changed 25 years ago, on Universal Children’s Day, when the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It rapidly became the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.

To date, almost every nation in the world has ratified the Convention. In every region of the world, it has inspired changes in laws, changes in policies, and changes in the way we perceive children as holders of their own rights and in the way we work to promote those rights.

It is fitting that we celebrate a quarter century of the Convention. But we must do more than celebrate. We must recommit ourselves to advancing the rights of every child, especially those who have been left behind -- those who have the least and need us the most.

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