cover image Free?: Stories About Human Rights

Free?: Stories About Human Rights

, . . Candlewick, $17.99 (202pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-4926-5

In this collection of 14 imaginative short stories, writers including Eoin Colfer, Roddy Doyle, Ursula Dubosarsky, and Margaret Mahy come together to celebrate the United Nations' 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In her introduction, Jacqueline Wilson writes, “So many brave writers have drawn attention to the horrors of repressive regimes, even though they've suffered as a result.... Life isn't fair—but we can do our best to right the wrongs.” Differing widely in focus and style, the stories eloquently illustrate specific articles in the declaration. In David Almond's tale, a boy who's part of a group of neighborhood “mischief-makers, pests, and scamps” has his perspective changed by an iconoclastic German youth, who plants the seed of freedom through independent thought. Theresa Breslin offers a suspenseful piece about a young daydreamer who stumbles upon a child-labor factory. Written in verse, Rita Williams-Garcia's story is a somber look at the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, while Patricia McCormick presents a harrowing account of those who fled Zimbabwe in 2008 after a disputed election. Frequently thought provoking, the stories adeptly highlight the universal importance of human rights. Ages 10–up. (Apr.)