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National Geographic Kids Book Focuses on Human Rights


Today is the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To mark the occasion, National Geographic has collaborated with The Elders and the ePals Global Community to produce an illustrated book of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the simplest language.

“Every Human Has Rights: A Photographic Declaration for Kids” (Nov. 25, 2008; $17.95) offers kids an accessibly written list of these rights, commentary by other kids, and photography illustrating each right.

It may have been produced for kids, but I think every adult could benefit from reading this version of the declaration.

The original document is stiff with lofty language written no doubt by lawyers. This version for kids says, for example, “No one has the right to torture you, bully you, or punish you too severely” vs. the official “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The Elders, a network of elder statesmen that advocates for human rights around the world, brought the 60th anniversary to National Geographic’s attention.

“In an effort to start with ‘kids themselves,’ National Geographic worked closely with the ePals community, the largest online community of K-12 learners, to join the celebration,” according to a National Geographic press release about the book.

“Each participating teacher shared the Universal Declaration, rewritten for accessibility. The students wrote short responses and sent them to the publisher for judging. The 16 contest winners are featured in the book. Inspired by The Elders, the students, and the declaration, National Geographic Children’s Books’ editorial team pulled together the photographs, captions, and labels.”

Readers are encouraged to go to the Every Human Has Rights Web site to sign the declaration and speak up about human rights and “the values that unite us as one human family.”