Fight to Learn: The Struggle to Go to School
by Laura Scandiffio
Annick Press, 2016
ISBN 978 1-55451-797-8 (sc)
$16.95, 168 pp., colour illustrations, ages 10 — 14
The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts “everyone has the right to education.” But Scandiffio’s work documents how this goal remains aspirational for millions of young people. State or criminal violence, civil wars, as well as poverty and oppression, are some of the commonalities readers will discover in this work. Of course, widespread discrimination against minorities is found in almost every chapter as well. Yet this work is not simply a litany of depressing obstacles since the author has chosen to focus on initiatives which have successfully surmounted those hurdles. Scandiffio has gathered together inspiring stories of activists fighting for proper education around the globe. There are chapters dealing with the Roma in Europe, girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan, African-American youth in Chicago’s gang-ridden South Side, former child soldiers in Uganda, Chilean student protesters, and Cree people in Attiwapiskat.
Classroom Connections: The work—which is also available in epub, pdf, and hardcover versions—includes dozens of illustrations (mostly photographs) along with explanatory notebook-style sidebars. Scandiffio has clearly undertaken a substantial amount of research with nearly sixty main sources listed in the bibliography. There are suggestions for further reading, links to easily accessible websites, and students could make use of the book’s four-page index. Useful for teachers are lesson plan ideas offered on the Annick website that include activities designed before starting the book, while reading various chapters, and after completing them. For example, there are suggestions that could be used in Social Studies classes (a world map exercise), Language/Literacy units (analyzing the structure and content of the work), and Civics courses (plan a campaign for the “Right to Learn”).
Review by George Sheppard.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Winter 2018 issue.