Do you want to learn more about human rights defenders around the world, and their accomplishments? Or about what you can do for human rights?
As part of our #FromHateToHope campaign, we have collected some recommendations for books about human rights. The books in this list are perfect for young people to learn more about human rights or to be inspired!
- The Courage of Strangers: Coming of Age With the Human Rights Movement – Jeri Laber (2005) – After Jeri Laber earned a Master’s degree in Russian studies at Columbia University, she became a part-time writer and editor and a full-time wife and mother. Then one day in 1973 she read an article about torture that altered her life and subsequently the lives of countless others around the world. The Courage of Strangers tells how Laber became a founder and the executive director of Helsinki Watch, which grew to be Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s most influential organizations.
- Campaigning for Justice: Human Rights Advocacy in Practice – Jo Becker (2012) – Advocates within the human rights movement have had remarkable success establishing new international laws, securing concrete changes in human rights policies and practices, and transforming the terms of public debate. Yet too often, the strategies these advocates have employed are not broadly shared or known. Campaigning for Justice addresses this gap to explain the “how” of the human rights movement.
- Here I stand – Amnesty International UK (2016) – Did you know that … government spies can turn on your phone and use the microphone to listen to your conversations? … that lesbian and gay relationships are illegal in 78 countries and can be punished by death? … that Amnesty recently recorded the highest number of executions globally for more than 25 years?
Through short stories and poetry, twenty-five leading authors and illustrators explore the top human rights issues facing young people today. Now is the time to take a stand and make a difference.
- Know Your Rights (And Claim Them) – Amnesty International, Angelina Jolie, and Geraldine Van Bueren (2021) – If you are aged under 18 you have your own set of human rights. Child rights are unique freedoms and protections designed for you. Governments should uphold them but all across the world they are violated. Know Your Rights (And Claim Them) gives you the knowledge and tools to claim your rights. It introduces them and explains why they matter in the real world. From gender and racial equality, to the rights to free expression, health, a clean climate and a sustainable environment, they are yours to claim.
- Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide – Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (2009) – From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.
With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.
- The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas (2017) – Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
- The Voices of Silence – Bel Mooney (1998) – In 1989 Romania it’s unthinkable to criticize the country’s leader. Flora Popescu can’t imagine a revolution, but suddenly daily life brings frightening changes. Some changes seem connected to a new classmate who dresses and eats better than his poor classmates. As Flora’s world crumbles around her, she learns that her father’s in danger and only she can save him from the secret police.
- Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu (2017) – Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.
Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.
- Dear Martin – Nic Stone (2017) – Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.