Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WE ARE ALL BORN FREE, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures

After WW2, the United Nations was set up. This body drew up a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states the reasons why it has become important to safeguard Human Rights all over the world, which had seen the horrors of genocide in the Holocaust. It then goes on to list those rights.

Amnesty International was established in 1961 to regulate the implementation of human rights. As wikipedia puts it, "AI draws attention to human rights abuses and campaigns for compliance with international laws and standards. It works to mobilise public opinion to exert pressure on governments that perpetrate abuses."

This is a book published by Tara books in India in association with Amnesty International, and under licence from Frances Lincoln Children's Books. Cover page image taken here is of the original international edition. No image is available for the Tara Books edition, which is, however, available at bookstores and at Flipkart.

Image Courtesy Amnesty International
WE ARE ALL BORN FREE
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures.

Published by Tara books.
Ages: Can be read by ages 8+, but as it says, "it is for children from the sge of 12 onwards that this book offers the maximum rewards."

It is in essense the same as the international edition, except for a foreword and an afterword with a note for Parents and Educators by V. Geetha and Gita Wolf of Tara books. These give us an idea of how the book may be used, the concept of Human Rights, the history of the UN and this declaration, and its relevance locally, in the Indian context. There is also a discussion on how the illustrations can be interpreted in the context of the Article that they highlight. And how this can be applied to what we see around us.

The Articles themselves are worded in a simpler, more child friendly and more identifiable terms.
For eg., Article 1 & 2 state:

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

"Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty."

This is stated in the book as:

We are all born free and equal.
We all have our own thoughts and ideas.
We should all be treated in the same way.

These rights belong to everybody,
Whatever our differences.

The book is a collage of sorts, with 30 internationally acclaimed artists known for their illustrations in children's books and picture books contributing. I was delighted to find old favourites like John Birmingham, Polly Dunbar, Nicholas Allan, Axel Scheffler, Bob Graham, Chris Riddell and Marcia Williams, among others.

They are from all corners of the globe- UK, Sweden, Argentina, South Africa, France, Austria, Japan, Canada, Zimbabwe, USA, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Ireland. This makes the book a wonderful opportunity to study their various styles too. The illustrations are full page, sometimes double spread.

I think that this is one of those books that should be introduced to everyone. The one negative point is its price, which at Rs 240, is not very affordable. But surely, each school can have a copy? Maybe it can be brought out in a more affordable edition without the high quality paper that this one uses, but retaining all the other features?

Take a look at this video for a good look inside the book.

Crossposted here.

6 comments:

ChoxBox said...

Wow. Great find!

sathish said...

wow. I would love to look into all those illustrations!

Tara books tend to be on costlier side probably because many of their books are hand printed or hand bound.

artnavy said...

we have this from chennai days- a little hifi for anush still but i broadly explained to her- i liked it.

sandhya said...

This is probably a book the kids can relate to later, too. And yes, the illustrations are wonderful. Thanks all.

starry eyed said...

This book jumped out at me at Landmark today...am absolutely floored by it...thanks for reviewing it!

Playing by the book said...

Interesting to read that Tara books published this in India.

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