Every child a song by Nicola Davies

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Illus. by Marc Martin. Wren and Rook, 2019. ISBN: 9781526361417.
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Themes: Universal rights of the child, Human rights. A unique and moving picture book combines a tender story with information about the rights that children are entitled to under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It begins with the birth of a child: 'When you were born, a song began...' and goes on to show that the child needs to be 'nourished, cherished, celebrated.' Using a song as metaphor, the reader sees the child soaring and exploring and meeting other children 'unique and special', but the short lyrical text also shows what it is like to be exploited, imprisoned or part of war and needing refuge. It exhorts everyone to raise their 'voices for the right of every song to sing out loud, bold and unafraid'. In conclusion Davies has chosen some of the rights of the child to emphasise.
Marc Martin's watercolour illustrations complement the text and give the reader extra information to help understand the needs of the child. Dark colours show the tribulations of child labour and boat people, while bright colours portray the happiness of children when their rights are maintained.
This would be a wonderful book to use to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (30 November) and could be used at any time when discussing human rights and the needs of children everywhere. It is a book that would help children to show compassion and kindness and to stand up for human rights.
Pat Pledger