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of the Center for Children's Books

The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based booklist available as an online-only Bulletin feature. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.

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Trials and Triumphs:
A Human Rights Dozen

--selected by Lauren Chenevert, CCB outreach

During this year’s Olympics, the countries of the world will come together to compete on an international stage for athletic glory. Often, however, victories of everyday people against the injustice around the world are just as poignant, hopeful, and heartbreaking as those trials won on the field. This month’s dozens celebrates the unsung heroes of the human rights movement.

father dozen

Amir. Zahra’s Paradise; illus. by Khalil. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2011. Gr. 10 up

In-depth background information and additional resources supplement this fictionalized graphic novel account of a young Iranian man searching for his missing brother during the mass protests that followed the controversial Iranian election of President Ahmadinejad in 2009.  (BCCB 11/11)


Amnesty International, ed. Free?: Stories Celebrating Human Rights. Candlewick, 2010. Gr. 6-9

This collection of short stories and poetry written by fifteen contributing authors, all inspired by articles of the United Nation’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, offers connections to current events and is ripe for discussion groups. (BCCB 5/10)


Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. Chrichton/Farrar, 2007. Gr. 9 up

In Sierra Leone, twelve-year-old Beah unexpectedly found himself in the middle of a raging war when he was recruited by government troops and given weapons, drugs, and orders to take revenge on the rebels; in this nonfiction memoir, Beah recounts the painful difficulty in attempting to recover from his damaged sense of humanity when he makes it to UNESCO rehab camp. (BCCB 5/07)


Combres, Élisabeth. Broken Memory: A Novel of Rwanda; tr. from the French by Shelley Tanaka. Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2009. Gr. 7-12

When the Rwandan government announces that the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide will be prosecuted, thirteen-year-old Emma is thrust out of her quiet isolation and forced to deal with the terrible memories she can’t keep from coming back. (BCCB 12/09)


Edwardson, Derby Dahl. My Name Is Not Easy. Cavendish, 2011. Gr. 5-9

Ińupiaq brothers Luke, Issac, and Bunna are sent to a Catholic boarding school and compelled to learn the white way of life in 1960s Alaska in this dramatic story that depicts rigid Indian reform schools and civil rights in an Alaskan context. (BCCB 11/11)


Ellis, Deborah. Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees; written and illus. with photographs by Deborah Ellis. Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2009. Gr. 5-10

Compiled solely of interviews with Iraqi children, all now living as refugees in Jordan, this text offers a detailed look at those suffering loss of family members, reduced social status and financial security, and restricted educational pursuits as a result of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  (BCCB 7/09)


Gann, Marjorie. Five Thousand Years of Slavery; by Marjorie Gann and Janet Willen. Tundra, 2011. Gr. 6-10

Illuminating photographs and illustrations, as well as smartly placed and well-conceived sidebars add valuable depth to the main text here that exposes readers to systems of slavery across time, place, and culture and serves as a starting point for students setting American slavery (including modern-day trafficking) into context. (BCCB 6/11)


Lake, Nick. In Darkness. Bloomsbury, 2012.. Gr. 8-12

Alternating in perspective between Shorty, a slum-dwelling gangster buried in the rubble of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and Toussaint L’Ouverture, leader of the late-18th century Haitian Revolution, this spirit-driven novel grapples with Haiti’s turbulent political history and the island’s contemporary plagues of gang violence and poverty.  (BCCB 3/12)


Mardsen, Carolyn. The White Zone. Carolrhoda, 2012. Gr. 4-7

The complex relationship between two contemporary Iraqi cousins, Nouri and Talib, serves as the center of this accessible and high-interest novel and acts as an intriguing exploration of the realities of the Shiite/Sunni conflict. (BCCB 6/12)


Naidoo, Beverley. Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope. HarperCollins, 2003. Gr. 4-8

These historical vignettes, spanning the decades from 1948 to 2000, explore the concrete and psychological consequences of apartheid, experienced by South African young people.  (BCCB 2/03)


Park, Linda Sue. A Long Walk to Water. Clarion, 2010. Gr. 5-8

This factually based dual narrative tells the story of Salva Dut, a Sudanese refugee of the country’s 1980s civil war, and Nya, a contemporary fictional Sudanese girl who must make twice-daily treks for her family’s water. (BCCB 12/10)


Perkins, Mitali. Secret Keeper. Delacorte, 2009. Gr. 7-12

Through the pages of her diary, teenager Asha details the tension of living in a home that isn’t her own as well as her musings on the feminist movement in the U.S. when she and her family are sent to live in Calcutta in the 1970s. (BCCB 2/09)


Purcell, Kim. Trafficked. Viking, 2012. Gr. 7-10.

This fictional account of present-day abuse and slavery offers a richly detailed look at human trafficking when a generous offer of employment turns into forced 16-hour work days  and no pay for Hannah, a Moldovian girl who comes to America to serve as a nanny to a wealthy family. (BCCB 3/12)



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This page was last updated on July 1, 2012.