Clean Environment; Food; Homeland; Justice
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This ambitious new series tackles complex human rights issues. Each title includes a mixture of principles and actual happenings (including reports from around the world) - they should be particularly valuable for project work and developing classroom discussion with early teenagers. Each has a glossary, a list of organisations and a reading list. (Some of the readings recommended in Homeland and Justice are helpfully annotated.)
Homeland is particularly strong, benefiting from a perceptive introductory analysis of what the concept means. The text is approachable and also very powerful, including as examples: lost homelands (Crimean Tartars), divided homelands (Kurdistan), invaded homelands (East Timor), and homelands regained (Eritrea). As the book rightly points out 'many of these stories are sad and shameful ones, they are also inspiring'. Would-be purchasers should, however, be warned that the text shortens Nelson Mandela's imprisonment by some seven years (a mistake that many teenagers will spot).
Human rights issues have an impact on young people, and these books introduce complex issues without undue simplification, enhancing the reader's understanding of their subjects. They also show that as individuals we may not be able to solve everything but we are not totally powerless to influence events.