I Have The Right To Be A Child

Author: Alain Serres
Illustrator: Aurélia Fronty
Translator: Sarah Ardizzone

Age: 6-12
RRP: £7.99
ISBN: 9781907912115
Publication Date: 10-09-2012
Format: Paperback, 260mm x 260mm
Extent: 40 pages

What are rights?

What are rights?  Why do we have rights? Who has rights? Who bestows these rights? Do we need a document outlining our rights? What does it mean to have rights in the 21st century? What do rights mean to different people in different parts of the world?

In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention - a legally binding international instrument – incorporating all the minimum entitlements and freedoms of all children that should be respected by governments. Drawn up by the United Nations, the Convention on the Rights of the Child comprises of 54 articles and has been signed by 193 countries.

This exquisitely beautiful picture book takes the articles of the Convention and translates them into a language children can understand, in a non-preachy manner and with full-page artwork to illustrate each of these articles. Topics covered include food and water, healthcare, housing, poverty, international development, gender, race, the environment, disability, education, citizenship, family, war and freedom of speech.

Teaching resources for this title are available to download here or via Amnesty International's website. I have the right to be a child is a multi-layered teaching resource for primary schools that children can read and respond to at their own levels. A brilliant book for classroom and home discussion on the complexities implied by the term ‘rights’ and the big questions about what it means to have rights in the world we live in today.

I have the right to be a child is endorsed by Amnesty International UK and we are very pleased to be working with Amnesty in raising awareness of human rights through education. For more information about Amnesty's work, educational resources and the full Convention on the Rights of the Child (in child-friendly language) visit: www.amnesty.org.uk/education

About the Author, Illustrator & Translator

Alain Serres was born in 1956 in Biarritz, France. He was a school teacher for thirteen years before turning his hand to publishing. In 1996 he founded the independent French publisher, Rue du Monde, of which he is still the Director. Alain has written more than eighty titles for children.

Aurélia Fronty was born in born in France in 1973. After graduating from the art school of Duperré in Paris, she went on to work in fashion before turning her hand to children’s illustration. She has illustrated over forty children’s titles.

Sarah Ardizzone was born in Brussels. She studied theatre in Paris and now lives in London. As a travel writer, her assignments included sailing half-way across the world on a cargo ship. Sarah has translated over 40 books for children and grown-ups, including Little Red Hood and Mr Leon's Paris for Phoenix Yard Books.


Feature article in the TES: Modern foreign languages - Worthy of Discussion. "What are a child's rights? Take two books and start a debate."

Catherine Paver, Times Education Supplement

"An important addition to every children's bookcase." The Guardian

“An immensely valuable KS2 resource - as well as being an appealing, inspiring and accessible read in its own, well, right.”

Teach Primary

"A great resource for teaching children about children's rights and encourages discussion about how life is different in other countries. It's a thought provoking book, beautifully and simply presented."

Parents In Touch

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 if we don't try to encourage our children to think that way, what chance have we got?”

 Library Mice

"This is a book that invites discussion, whether you are reading at home or in the classroom. If boys and girls are different, are their rights exactly the same? Why should any child be exposed to war? Shouldn't every child have the right to enough food and drink to grow up healthy and strong? Engaging and brightly-coloured illustrations accompany the thought-provoking text."


“Imagine the challenge of creating a picturebook from the 54 articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: putting the articles into a language that can be understood by younger children, and, through words and pictures, encouraging your readers to think about the implications of the Convention. It’s easy to see how the result might be worthy (how could it be otherwise) but dull; or perhaps shocking in showing children whose rights were not respected. This book confounds such expectations. It is the work of a French author and illustrator, and put into English by prize-winning translator, Sarah Ardizzone. While the book’s images are positive, showing children enjoying rights that they may even take for granted rather than children who live in poverty or are abused, it asks questions that invite children to imagine what it might mean, for instance, not to have a name, a family or a country to call one’s own. The text is a clever mix of such questions with small assertions of individuality. A question about the right to grow up healthy is followed by the statement “Oranges are my favourite food: you can drink them and you can eat them.” So general rights are linked back to individual children with unique personalities, although the children who speak are never identified and could be any of those who appear in the illustrations. The illustrations are perhaps the book’s greatest triumph. They have the quality of a child’s own art-work and show children of all complexions and cultural backgrounds, indicated by the clothing, toys and animals that are pictured. Colourful and vibrant, they express complex ideas in a simple form. The question, “Do I have the right to a roof over my head?” is accompanied by the illustration of a girl sleeping peacefully in a blanket which has a design of the map of her community with its buildings, roads and woodland. Gradually, through the book, the illustrations build up a picture of the interdependence of individuals, communities and the natural world, through which all our lives are realised. This is a brilliant piece of work from author, illustrator and translator and congratulations and thanks are due to Phoenix Yard, its British publisher.”

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