"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights"

In December we celebrate the 68th annual Human Rights Day. On Dec. 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which served as the first global proclamation that all people had certain inalienable rights.

Books have always been a place where we can celebrate our shared humanity and see the world through the eyes and experiences of those from whom we would normally be separated. The spectrum of human rights topics is as broad as the Earth that contains us, ranging from the battle for an education, to slavery, to gender equality. Below are a few engaging reads that you can find at your local JCPL branch.

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb

The true story of the teenage Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who was targeted by terrorists for attending school in her home country of Pakistan. Malala’s recovery from a gunshot wound and determination to deliver her message of peace and equal education for all has inspired people around the world.

Night” by Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel (Translator)

Elie Wiesel’s masterpiece, drawn from his time in the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, has unflinchingly exposed readers to the horrors of the Holocaust for over 50 years. Wiesel’s lifelong literary project to come to terms with his experiences as a teenager earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot

Published in 2010, this nonfiction story of medical ethics and the search for the polio vaccine has become a modern classic. Henrietta Lacks’ cells were taken without her knowledge or permission in 1951, and their journey through the labyrinth of modern medicine raises questions of individual rights and dignity, and the health and well-being of millions.

The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

A novel about the friendship between two young boys growing up in Afghanistan, this story has transcended borders and found its way to millions of readers since its publication in 2004. Author Khaled Hosseini drew on his own childhood in Kabul to write this bestseller, which has been published in seventy countries, and was adapted to film in 2007.

Happy (and thoughtful) reading!