5 books to connect us all, each in different and wonderful ways

Connections—momentary or spread over a lifetime—change the world. Here are 5 favourite books that help to provide a foundation for children so that, when the moment arrives, they will be ready to make a connection.


PEOPLE . . . Happy - that's the way People leaves you. Happy to be part of a world that is bubbling over with colour and life. Happy for all the different lifestyles that make up human life. Happy for the achievements of humankind. Happy for the natural wonders we enjoy in such abundance. And happy for your own place in all of that.

This is a classic. First printed in 1980, it's full of the sort of detail that leads to further investigation. It can be read quickly or pondered over and returned to again and again. (The number of human beings is outdated but that’s ok because it’s pretty amazing to contemplate the speed of population growth.)

WHOEVER YOU ARE . . . is a bright and cheerful poem story written in Mem Fox's very familiar voice. Mem’s trademark attention to repetition of words and phrases and carefully chosen words make reading aloud a pleasure. And Leslie Staub has done a fantastic job of making each child and adult in the book appear to be ‘every’ child – there’s a oneness to the people and the places without compromising on the reflection of diversity.

While Whoever You Are is a lovely present for a newborn, or their parents, it would also be perfect for graduating teens.

IF THE WORLD WERE A VILLAGE . . . By proportionally reducing the entire population of the world to the size of a small village of 100 people, If the World Were a Village makes it easier to see where we fit in the world. Make sure you get the Second Edition—it’s obviously more up to date. 

If you already have the first edition, it’s quite fascinating to compare the two, to see what has changed and what remains. For example—the number of villagers speaking English has remained at 9 but, happily, the number of villagers who can’t be sure of food has dropped from 50 to 47.

WE ARE ALL BORN FREE . . . Amnesty International has taken the 30 principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, summarised them so that they are easy to understand (in a simplistic way of course) and commissioned a different artist to illustrate each right. The result is gorgeous. There will always be political arguments surrounding a declaration like this, but regardless, this little book provides a charming introduction to the idea of universal human rights.

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed on 10th December 1948. It was compiled after World War Two to declare and protect the rights of all people from all countries. This beautiful collection, published 60 years on, celebrates each declaration with an illustration by an internationally-renowned artist or illustrator and is the perfect gift for children and adults alike. Published in association with Amnesty International, with a foreword by David Tennant and John Boyne. Includes art work contributions from Axel Scheffler, Peter Sis, Satoshi Kitamura, Alan Lee, Polly Dunbar, Jackie Morris, Debi Gliori, Chris Riddell, Catherine and Laurence Anholt and many more."

FOR EVERY CHILD . . . Similar in format to We Are All Born Free, this book takes 14 of the 54 principles that were developed at the UN Convention on The Rights of the Child and presents them poetically and individually illustrated. 

With illustrators like John Burningham and Shirley Hughes, the pictures alone make For Every Child worth owning and reading – and the text allows for lots of thoughtful discussion.

I hope you find something that's 'just right' in that collection—the books are linked to Book Depository, but if you'd like to search for them through our other affiliate booksellers (thank you!), here are the generic links:  Amazon - Book Depository - Booktopia