#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Books Early Readers Features Filipino Lit Genre International It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Celebrating United Nations Children’s Rights with Art and Song

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date).


For 2022, our reading theme is #DecolonizeBookshelves2022. Essentially, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized

Every Child A Song [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Nicola Davies Illustrated by Marc Martin
Published by Crocodile Books (2020)
ISBN: 1623718724 (ISBN13: 9781623718725) Review copy provided by publisher. Book photos taken by me.

The author, Nicola Davies wrote in her Afterword that the idea for this picturebook was inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) celebrating its 30th ‘birthday’ in 2020. While there are 54 rights of the child listed by the UNCRC, Davies’ lyrical message was mostly driven by 10 articles that she featured in the Afterword.

The entire idea behind our #DecolonizeBookshelves2022 reading theme is to surface the voices of those who are in the margins and those whose histories have been silenced or buried by those in power. It is our attempt to reclaim that power and sing the song of the most vulnerable, the disenfranchised, the dispossessed.

Nicola Davies with powerful art by Marc Martin make those drowned voices heard through this picturebook:

While there is the overall message of empowerment, there is also an acknowledgment of how some voices are:

“stolen, and made to sing

the tune of darkness,


or war”

The hope is that we can all come together, collectively, as human beings to ensure that these rights are protected, and every child’s song raised for the world to hear.

Karapat Dapat (Canvas)

Text and Translation by May Tobias-Papa Illustrated by Ang INK (Ilustrador Ng Kabataan)
Published by CANVAS – Center of Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (2018)
ISBN: 9789719689072 Review copy provided by publisher. Book photos taken by me.

I received a review copy of this book from a late dear friend who used to work for a very progressive publisher in the Philippines, my favourite in fact: CANVAS – Center of Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development which aims to provide free gorgeous books to children in the Philippines.

Unlike the first book, this one attempts to feature practically all the UNCRC Articles in bilingual format: English and Filipino, with art contributed by artists from Ang INK (Ilustrador ng Kabataan). I am highlighting here some of the artwork done by my favourite Filipino artists: for example, Robert Alejandro illustrating Articles 2, 14, 30 (see image below):

Rommel Joson’s interpretation of Article 27:

Lisa Flores’ signature collage art (paper on canvas) for Article 19:

My absolute favourite, Sergio Bumatay III’s surreal artwork for Article 15:

and the fearless Aldy Aguirre’s gouache art for Article 28:

As can be seen in the image above, there is also a playfully interactive nature to this picturebook that makes it even more engaging. I also discovered a few other artists whose work I am not familiar with, but now I am excited to know more. For example, see Paul Eric Roca’s acrylic on canvas interpretation of Article 12:

There is also Angela Taguiang’s mixed media art for Article 22:

and Yas Doctor’s acrylic on canvas interpretation of Articles 3, 4, and 5.

We have such amazingly talented artists from the Philippines. I do hope I can read and feature more of their picturebooks soonest. This is a remarkable picturebook that is freely available here. Download it and share in your classrooms, wherever you may be in the world.

#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 35 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

4 comments on “[Monday Reading] Celebrating United Nations Children’s Rights with Art and Song

  1. lindabaie

    While I may never find a copy of Karapat Dapat, I’m glad you shared it Myra. It looks so beautiful with the varied artists. I know the Davies book & still need to read it. Thanks for sharing these, so needed for our world. Have a lovely week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Things have certainly changed in publishing in the last 8 years. I’m still trying to convince teachers that “classics” are definitely not the way to go anymore, and that they should be looking into new titles. Thanks for these great suggestions.


  3. Like Linda, I wish one of my libraries had a copy of Karapat Dapat. It looks beautiful. The Nicola Davis book is available, but I am so swamped with books!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have to agree with Linda and Cheriee. I know I should be able to get my hands on Every Child a Song by Nicola Davies. Great theme and thoughts, I am glad to have read your post. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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