'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 15 May 2011

Review: We Are All Born Free

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed on December 10th 1948. It was put together after World War II to declare and protect the rights of all people. We Are All Born Free is a gorgeous picture book, a collection of illustrations celebrating these rights, 60 years on.

We Are All Born Free is published in association with Amnesty International and features forewords by David Tennent (TV’s Doctor Who) and author John Boyne. Internationally renowned artists such as John Burningham (Would You Rather?) and Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo) have delivered a series of illustrations that can be used to introduce children to the complicated topic of human rights.

The book presents the declarations sensitively and without overwhelming young children. For me, this is with the exception of Jane Ray’s illustration for “Nobody has any right to hurt us or to torture us.” I don’t feel this is a child friendly piece of art and have avoided looking at this page with my three year old. But, clearly a valuable human right, we will come back to this one in years to come!

Overall, I think We Are All Born Free would make a wonderful addition to both the classroom and home. It provides an excellent teaching tool for talking to children about how to treat others - with regards to understanding, respect, care and compassion. Aimed towards children six and over, the hard copy picture book encourages readers, whether young or old, to consider a world where every person’s human rights are considered.

I first discovered We Are All Born Free while browsing the children’s section of our local bookshop. It was love at first sight and I felt compelled to buy a copy for my family. Ever since, it has not only played its part as a beautiful picture book to share with my three year old but also as a conversation point for adults who visit our home.

Boyne mentions in his foreword that this book “might be the most important one you will ever own”. I am inclined to agree with him. And where I normally believe in keeping children’s books within a child’s arm’s reach, this is one book that stays up high. But always on display.

All royalties received from the book go to Amnesty International.

- This review by KBR contributor Gillian Harrison

Title: We Are All Born Free
Compiled by: Amnesty International
Illustrators: Various
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books, $37.95 RRP
Publication Date: October 2008
ISBN: 9781845076504
Format: Hard cover with dust jacket
For ages: 6+
Type: Picture Book

Buy this book online