Amnesty International UK’s book club of monthly stories and activities encourage children to dream big and help shape a fairer world
83% of British children aged 8-15 said they know little or nothing about their own rights
Liverpool-born actor, Sunetra Sarker has joined Amnesty International UK’s book club for children – Reading Rebels – to educate children on social justice issues.
Funded by the Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, the Reading Rebels initiative encourages children from 4-10 years old to read books that explore human rights.
The books selected in the club help build children’s knowledge, empathy and agency. They encourage young readers to think, ask questions, seek out the truth and to stand up for themselves and each other. These are some of the building blocks of human rights, but many children in Britain are not aware of their rights.
Although Reading Rebels is primarily for children aged 4-10 years old, Amnesty International UK recently conducted YouGov polling which found that 83% of British children aged 8-15 said they know little or nothing about their own rights. Sixty-four per cent of children said they knew only a little about their rights, with a further 19% saying they didn’t know anything at all. Just 17% of the young people approached in the poll felt they knew a lot about their rights.
Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK CEO, said:
“Most children in Britain are unaware of their rights and that needs to change.
“Books are a wonderful way to access the lives of others and they allow children to explore human rights whatever their age. Joining the club will help children understand equality and know how they should be treated, as well as how they should treat others.
“We hope this will empower children to engage with the issues of the moment from food poverty to issues about identity or the plight of refugees.
“This fantastic book club can really be part of the solution to some of the concerns parents and children have about the future and how we cope with modern challenges, and it has been made possible with funding from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery for which we are very grateful.”
British parents of children aged 18 and under were also polled about children’s rights, only 16% knew that children have more rights than adults do. Four-fifths (80%) of children thought it should be compulsory to be taught about rights in school, while two-thirds (66%) of the parents agreed with this proposition. However, nearly one in five parents (19%) thought it should not be.
Amnesty supporter Sunetra Sarker, said:
“Having the Reading Rebels book club is an excellent way to teach children about human rights, not only for themselves but for other less fortunate people around the world.
“Coming from Liverpool, I grew up around the city’s strong sense of purpose to fight for what we believe in, especially our human rights, so this book club is an ideal way for the next generation to carry on that tradition in a city so full of community spirit.”
It costs £12 a month to subscribe to Reading Rebels. Children will be sent a book each month for a year with creative activities to bring its themes to life and discussion questions to get the most from each story. Reading Rebels can be purchased or gifted to a child of your choosing. For information or to purchase visit www.amnesty.org.uk/giving/donate/join-reading-rebels