The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was written in 1989. It is a long document, but such an important one. The convention has been ratified by all but 3 countries in the world: Somalia, South Sudan, and the United States. This has always been hard for me to believe. The basic rights laid out for children should be ideals that everyone in the world could agree on as worth striving for. It includes such basics as a name, food, water, and shelter, as well as the right to school, healthcare, respect, and to be free from violence and war.
Alain Serres's I have the right to be a child (Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2012) distills the document into short sentences and adds examples that children can relate to. For example, "I have the right to go to school, without having to pay, so that I can learn how birds or planes or poppy seeds fly." One of my favorites is "I have the right to play, to create, to imagine . . ."
I'd like children in the United States to grow up in a country that has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is so much still to be done . . . I know there are children who are hungry, need shelter, and suffer violence in the US. I hope all who work with children -- librarians, teachers, parents -- and care about children will sign this petition for the United States to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: http://wh.gov/lg7nR