SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

How can everyone enjoy a peaceful life? How can justice for all become a reality? We can do this by treating everyone fairly. Justice helps us figure out what is fair in daily situations. Rules and laws help people understand what is fair where they live. There are many people around the world who help to enforce rules and laws so we can all feel safe and secure at home, at school, and at work.

You may have encountered some of these people in your life already. For example, what happens to a car that runs a red light? A policewoman will record this dangerous behavior, then a judge will give the driver a penalty. Rules are made to ensure everybody’s safety and well-being. You are lucky if you are part of a community that respects and protects its people.

To live safely and peacefully is one of your human rights. Everyone should be able to enjoy this way of living. Unfortunately, this is not the case everywhere. In some countries, there is war or conflict, and people are forced to leave their homes. Many families live in constant fear of losing their loved ones because no one is helping to enforce the laws that protect them. No matter where you live, we all must support safety, equality, and wellbeing for everyone, every day.

You can contribute to making the world a more peaceful place. Always choose kindness over violence. Every small action counts! Advocate for peace within your family, among your friends and classmates. Our new reading list for SDG16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions will give you many examples on how you can help spread peace and justice in your community.

Reading list

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The Day the War Came

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, after a morning of studying tadpoles and drawing birds at school, war came to your town and turned it to rubble. Imagine if you lost everything and everyone and you had to make a dangerous journey all alone. Imagine that there was no welcome at the end and no room for you to even take a seat at school. And then a child, just like you, gave you something ordinary but so very, very precious. In lyrical, deeply affecting language, Nicola Davies’s text combines with Rebecca Cobb’s expressive illustrations to evoke the experience of a child who sees war take away all that she knows.

Author and Illustrator: Nicola Davies and Rebecca Cobb | ISBN: 9781536201734 | Publisher: Candlewick

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The Rainbow Flag: Bright, Bold and Beautiful

Today the Rainbow Flag is a familiar sight, at the Pride Parade and around the world. But it is not only a universal symbol; it is also a brilliant object of design that is part of the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York. This story, based on true events, follows the birth of the idea and the collaborative creation of the flag and, above all, demonstrates the strength and ingenuity possible when a group of people—friends, community, neighbors, and family—take a stand for civil rights and l-o-v-e.

Author and Illustrator: Michelle Millar Fisher and Kat Kuang | ISBN: 9781633450783 | Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art

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Nelson Mandela: Father of Freedom

On 11 February 1990, a seventy-one-year-old South African man was released from jail after 10,000 nights as a prisoner. His name was Nelson Mandela and the eyes of the world were upon him as he made his first steps as a free man. This was the moment campaigners around the world had waited for. This grey-haired man emerging into sunshine was a symbol that South Africa had finally become free of apartheid. This book tells the story of an extraordinary man who has struggled for race equality all his life – and won. It tells of a man who became the president of the people he helped to free and in doing so earned the love of people all around the world.

Author: Hakim Adi | ISBN: 9780750228183 | Publisher: Wayland (An imprint of Hachette)

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The Day Gogo Went to Vote

Illustrated in rich pastels, this child’s-eye view of an important milestone in South African history allows young readers to experience every detail of this eventful day.

Author and Illustrator: Elinor Batezat Sisulu and Sharon Wilson | ISBN: 9780316702676 | Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

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Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story

At Grandfather Gandhi’s service village, each day is filled, from sunrise to sunset, with work that is done for the good of all. The villagers vow to live simply and non-violently. Arun Gandhi tries very hard to follow these vows, but he struggles with one of the most important rules: not to waste.

How can throwing away a worn-down pencil hurt anyone? How can wastefulness lead to violence? With the help of his grandfather, Arun learns how every wasteful act, no matter how small, affects others. And in time he comes to understand the truth of his grandfather’s words: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Author and Illustrator: Arun Gandhi (Author), Bethany Hegedus (Author) and Evan Turk (Illustrator) | ISBN: 9781481442657 | Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

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Children in Our World: Global Conflict

With our 24/7 news cycle and constant access to the latest headlines, the world can be a scary place. Now imagine you’re a child trying to make sense of it all!

In Global Conflict, children can get answers to questions like: What is global conflict? And how does it affect people in countries all over the world? Children will begin to understand the way others struggle with these issues and discover ways they can help.

Author and Illustrator: Louise Spilsbury and Hanane Kai | ISBN: 9781438050218 | Publisher: B.E.S. Publishing

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I’m a Global Citizen: A Peaceful World

How can you be a good global citizen? By understanding the world we live in and how we can effect change. This book explores the issues of peace and conflict, including why peace is important and how we can keep the peace. It includes a profile of Leymah Gbowee and projects such as how to activate to draw a peace path and how to organise a day of peace.

Author and Illustrator: Alice Harman and David Broadbent | ISBN: 9781445164014 | Publisher: Franklin Watts

Reading is a great way to better understand what people from across the globe struggle with in their everyday lives, and it helps us reflect on our own situation. But reading is just the first step: now it’s time to share your book club experiences and how you plan to take action. Each month, we will feature a couple of book clubs on our blog, so get ready to share your story through social media, by using #SDGBookClub and tagging @UNPublications.

Resources

We know it can be difficult to stay at home to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19. This is why we created a new guide on how to organize your own SDG Book Club online to connect with your friends and family while sharing the joy of reading. We look forward to hearing about your experience on social media using #SDGBookClub.

How to organize your own SDG Book Club ONLINE

Help us spread the word by downloading our promotional materials. You will find a horizontal banner, bookmark, placard and easy-to-print sign-up sheet for your friends, family and community to join the SDG Book Club!

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Frequently Asked Questions

The SDG Book Club aims to use books as a tool to encourage children ages 6-12 to interact with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a curated reading list ofbooks from around the world related to each of the 17 SDGs in all six official UN languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

A selection committee works together to make the final selection for each of the 17 SDGs, in all six official UN languages —Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. The selection committee consists of members from the United Nations, International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Federation of Librarian Associations (IFLA), European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBA), International Authors Forum (IAF), and International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

Fiction, non-fiction, and other genres that our panel thinks will help educate children about SDGs will be considered.

The reading list is meant for children ages 6-12. However, we encourage parents, educators, and everyone who is interested to read the selected books and help children understand the importance of the SDGs.

The reading list will be published during the first week of every month for 17 months, starting with Goal 1: No Poverty in April 2019 and culminating with Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals in September 2020 for the 5th anniversary of the SDGs.

Yes. Sign up on our homepage to get a monthly email on news and updates. Your privacy is important to us so we would never share your information with third parties or spam your inbox.

No. We do not intend to sell or promote the sale of the books featured in the reading list. If you chose to, you can buy the books online, wherever books are sold, or get a copy at your local bookstore or library.

You can post your thoughts and images on social media using the hashtag #SDGBookClub. Please tag/follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Yes, there are book club meetings taking place all over the world. Check back for a link to the list! (Coming soon)

People can host book club meetings around the world and share their photos via #SDGBookClub. If you would like to organize a public book club meeting, we recommend contacting your local book store, library or school and set it up with them. Please share the planned event on social media using #SDGBookClub and we will add it to the list of events.

You can post feedback on our Facebook page or write an email to: publications@un.org.

We sincerely appreciate your interest. However, we are not currently accepting recommendations.

There are actions that you can take beyond just reading the books.

A/ Help your kids to create a poster with a photo or drawing and interesting facts about their favourite character(s) of the book.

B/ Design a reading scavenger hunt for kids using drawings and pictures instead of questions and help them search for things mentioned in the book.

C/ Help your kids write a letter to the local government representative and tell them what you learned in the book and ask them what action(s) they are taking toward a specific Goal.

D/ Organize a parent-child facilitated book discussion for younger kids. Invite your child’s friends and their parents to discuss a book from the reading list at your local library or children’s book store.

E/ Spread the word on social media, using the hashtag #SDGBookClub. We’d love to feature your pictures/videos on our social media.

You can find plenty of Student Resources here. You will find other books aimed at children, as well as the SDG board game. The game aims to help teach children around the world about the Sustainable Development Goals in a child-friendly and straightforward way.

Read to a Child campaign: A global campaign on reading to children to encourage literacy and global citizenship, incorporating the priorities youth and quality education. It is planned to take place in September 2020. More information to come. Please sign up to stay informed.

Organizers

The International Publishers Association (IPA) is a federation of publishing associations from around the world. The main mandate of the IPA is to promote and defend copyright, support the freedom to publish, promote literacy and reading. IPA is an accredited NGO in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN. IPA supports the SDGs and works particularly closely with WIPO and UNESCO.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. Founded in 1927 in Edinburgh, Scotland at an international conference, we celebrated our 90th birthday in 2017. We now have more than 1,300 Members in nearly 150 countries around the world. IFLA was registered in the Netherlands in 1971.

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization that represents an international network of people from all over the  world who are committed to bringing books and children together. Today IBBY comprises 79 National Sections worldwide.

The European & International Booksellers Federation (EIBF) represents national booksellers associations in the European Union and beyond. EIBF Members in turn have in membership booksellers of all kinds: brick and mortar bookshops, online bookshops, independents, chains.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) is the most important international trade fair of the children’s publishing industry. With over 50 years of experience, BCBF has succeeded in bringing together a unique and diverse global audience: the result is the world’s premium copyright business hub when it comes to publishing with an extra core that extends to all multi-media content for children.

SDG Book Club Chapters Around the World

Our SDG Book Club is expanding and we are excited to see SDG reading lists for children from around the world. In addition to the SDG Book Club in the UN’s six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) there are now chapters in other languages. Visit the SDG Book Club Chapters listed below.

Africa
Brazil
Indonesia
Norway
Portugal