Joan Haig and Joan Lennon, illustrated by André Ducci
Words have the power to move us whether addressed directly to a live audience in a formal setting – political, judicial or in a demonstration, broadcast through the media (TV, radio or social media) or, in printed form such as in newspapers or pamphlets.
The authors and illustrator introduce readers to sixteen speakers from all over the world – eight women and eight men – who over the past 150 years have made historic speeches, each of which has in some way helped to shape the societies we live in today.
Arranged chronologically the orators featured have spoken out on such fundamental issues as civil rights, war, women’s rights, (Emmeline Pankhurst and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti) gay rights (Harvey Milk) and climate change. The contents of their speeches along with facts about the events that led up to each one, as well as what happened thereafter, are presented in infographic style in this inspiring book.
It’s good to see two not one double spread allocated to each (apart from the two ‘youth voices on the environment’, Severn Cullis-Suzuki and Greta Thunberg, who share four pages.)
Most of those included will be familiar to readers and I was thrilled to see my all time hero, Nelson Mandela with his 1964 ‘statement from the dock’,
as well as Barack Obama’s 2015 ‘remarks by the president at the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches’ both featured.
A new name to me is Pearl Gibbs who spoke out for justice for the aboriginal peoples of Australia and was involved in 1939 in the very first major Aboriginal civil rights demonstration.
This is more than just a history book, it’s essential reading for children who will one hopes feel empowered to speak out for the causes in which they believe.