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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.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Gr 7 Up-This anthology advocates for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It has the bonus of literary merit, and-another plus-it's highly readable. Don't let the cause or political weight of the title scare readers away. Popular YA authors use their exemplary storytelling skills to present stories set in a variety of countries, including Africa, Palestine, Jerusalem, Ireland, the United States, and England. Rita Williams-Garcia's jaunty short-story-in-verse style belies the contrasting events of the Hurricane Katrina debacle. Three high school teens, bolstered by their marching-band spirit, set off to find water for their families in New Orleans. What transpires is a devastating dose of reality as they witness rescue and governance gone wrong. In David Almond's "Klaus Vogel and the Bad Lads," a pack of boys takes on the persona of tough blokes shoving about an English neighborhood during the late 1940s. Active and impulsive, they fall in with the oldest, coolest, meanest guy on the block. But when a new boy arrives from Germany, allegiances and dynamics shift. Independent Klaus is small but confident, and he risks standing up for himself. Strength of character is exposed, the group's status quo is broken, and the ability to say "no" is celebrated. Each selection cites the article(s) from the Declaration to which it relates.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

An absorbing book which in the age-old tradition of story telling, gets the point over to its young readers that not everyone in the world has the freedom they treat so lightly * Newbury Weekly News *
Containing truly outstanding contributions from Morpurgo, Rita Williams-Garcia and Margaret Mahy, the collection delivers tales that leave the reader, as Mahy puts it, `with heads that spin inside with the surprise of life and the thrill of words that jostled and danced freely - no matter what country you happened to live in. * INIS *
Frequently thought-provoking, these stories adeptly highlight the universal importance of human rights. * Publisher's Weekly *

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