I received this book for free from Walker Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Author: Amnesty International
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Walker Books
Did you know that ... government spies can turn on your phone and use the microphone to listen to your conversations? ... that lesbian and gay relationships are illegal in 78 countries and can be punished by death? ... that Amnesty recently recorded the highest number of executions globally for more than 25 years?
Through short stories and poetry, twenty-five leading authors and illustrators explore the top human rights issues facing young people today.
Now is the time to take a stand and make a difference.
Full list of contributors: Tony Birch, John Boyne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Kate Charlesworth, Sarah Crossan, Neil Gaiman, Jack Gantos, Ryan Gattis, Matt Haig, Frances Hardinge, Jackie Kay, AL Kennedy, Liz Kessler, Elizabeth Laird, Amy Leon, Sabrina Mahfouz, Chelsea Manning, Chibundu Onuzo, Bali Rai, Chris Riddell, Mary and Bryan Talbot, Christie Watson and Tim Wynne-Jones.
Review: How do I review a book like Here I Stand? I think anthologies are underrated first of all. I find YA anthologies particularly compelling and, to my delight, recently there are more and more of them being published.
This anthology unites numerous poets, writers and even Chelsea Manning to raise awareness about human rights issues facing young people today. There are some very upsetting stories in there; the first story by John Boyne deals with some really serious issues. I realised as I read that this was not going to necessarily be a light read. Literature matters, it’s important and it has power. If you don’t believe me, look at Harry Potter and consider the way a book about magic and boarding school looks at kindness, cruelty, discrimination and many political issues. Furthermore, it’s fascinating to see how fans engage and understand such matters and themes away from the series.
Back to Here I Stand; this was a brilliant read. It raised my awareness on a number of current human rights issues that affect and influence young people. I think this is an incredibly important release and crucially it is not preaching or didactic. I didn’t feel lectured and it made the topics real and relatable as I read.
an incredibly important release … not preaching or didactic.
One of the most striking things about this anthology was that I didn’t find myself wanting to skip any of the stories or poems as I read. Some particular standout stories for me included those by Liz Kessler, John Boyne and Frances Hardinge and I also found Amy Leon’s poem Darling very good. Each story and poem offered something different and compelling which doesn’t always with anthologies.
I’m glad I read this book. While some of the stories and themes raised were more difficult and upsetting for me to read, I found it incredibly important. I would say this is a must read for readers with any interest in human rights issues going on right now.