Non-Fiction Literature
Literature for Teaching Human Rights
An Annotated Bibliography
Nancy Flowers, Curriculum Coordinator
Amnesty International USA 1989
Updated and edited in 1999 by Lory Schwedes and reproduced with permission

Agosin, Marjorie.  Surviving Beyond Fear: Women, Children, and Human Rights in Latin America.  Fredonia: White Pine Press, 1998.

 Marjorie Agosin has compiled essays, interviews, and analysis about the different human rights situations in Latin America as seen by the women and children.

Afkhani, Mahnaz (Country).  Women in Exile.  University of Virginia, 1994.

Women in Exile is a book of non-fiction women writers.  The book includes the most notable narratives of "Fatima Ajmed Ibrahim," "Hala Deeb Jabour," "Sima Wali," and "Azar Salamat."

Angelou, Maya (United States).  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.  Random House, 1970.

Angelou’s autobiography about her heartbreaking childhood with her grandmother in segregated Arkansas.

Barrios de Chungara, Domitila, with Moema Viezzer (Bolivia).  Let Me Speak!  Testimony of Domitila, A Woman of the Bolivian Mines.  Monthly Review, 1979.

Story of the courageous wife of a Bolivian miner who witnesses the labor organizing of Bolivian workers and attends an international women’s conference.

Bendt, Ingela and James Dowling.  We Shall Return: Women of Palestine.  Zed Press, 1982.

This story of the Palestinian women is told by the women of the refugee camps, women and girls of all ages.  It is a short work, easily read and understood with extensive illustration.

Bhardan, Kalpana.  Of Women, Outcastes, Peasants, and Rebels.  University of California, 1990.

 Especially see "Letter from a Wife," "Dhowli," "A Female Problem at a Low Level," and "Haimanti."

Bould, Geoffrey, ed.  Conscience, Be My Guide: An Anthology of Prison Writings.  Zed Books, 1991.

 A collection of writings and narratives of censured writers.

Cabrezas, Omar (Nicaragua).  Fire from the Mountain.  Crown, 1985.

Cabrezas, who was a Sandinista guerilla, discloses his side of the Nicaraguan revolution and civil rights struggle.

Chung, Nien (China).  Life and Death in Shanghai.  Grove Press, 1987.

Refusing falsely to admit to "Capitalist crimes," the author endures years of prison and persecution.  Her story is told against the background of the Communist revolution in China and the Cultural Revoltuion, which sweep away both her old life and all her family.

Criddle, J.D.  To Destroy You Is No Loss: The Odyssey of a Cambodian Family.  Anchor, 1987.

The story of one young woman and her family struggling for survival during the Pol Pot regime and their eventual flight to Thailand.  The final chapters describe the refugee camps in Thailand where the family awaits resettlement in the United States.

De Jesus, Carolina Maria (Brazil).  Child of the Dark: The Diary of Carolina Maria De Jesus.  New American Library, 1962.

 This journal, by a semi-literate resident of one of Rio de Janeiro’s barrios, records the hardships of life among the urban poor as well as the author’s indomitable spirit.

Dowd, Siobham.  This Prison Where I Live : The Pen Anthology of Imprisoned Writers.  Cassell Academic, 1996.

 This Prison Where I Live is an anthology of prison writings from censored authors.

Friedlander, Albert.  Out of the Whirlwind.  Schocken, 1989.

 Out of the Whirlwind is an anthology of fiction, history, and personal narratives arranged thematically.

Glatstein, Jacob.  Anthology of Holocaust Literature.  Macmillan, 1973.

 This collection includes both fiction and primary source material.

Gray, Ian and Moira Stanley, eds.  A Punishment in Search of a Crime: Americans Speak Out Against the Death Penalty.  Avon Books, 1989.

 A collection of personal statements of opposition to state executions.

Hallie, Philip.  Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed.  Harper Collins, 1985.

 A French village dares to shelter Jewish children during the Nazi occupation.

Havel, Vaclav (Czech Republic).  Letters to Olga.  Holt, 1989.

 Letters written by the current president of the Czech Republic between 1979 and 1982 when he was a political prisoner.

Hayslip, Le Ly (Vietnam).  When Heaven and Earth Changed Places.  Doubleday, 1989.

Le Ly Hayslip recalls her childhood in Vietnam, her imprisonment by the Viet Cong and later flight to the United States.****

Also: Child of War, Woman of Peace (1993)

Hillsom, Etty (Holland).  An Interrupted Life: Diaries of Etty Hillsom, 1941-1943.  Publisher, Date.

An Interrupted Life is the diary of a young Dutch woman as she moves through increasing hardships toward her death in a concentration camp.

Kismaraic, Carole.  Forced Out: The Agony of the Refugee in Our Time.  Human Rights Watch, J.M. Kaplan Fund, William Morrow & Co., W.W. Norton & Co., Penguin Books Ltd., and Random House Inc., 1989.

An extraordinary collection of photographs, essays, and factual information that movingly conveys the global refugee crisis.

Kuklin, Susan.  Irrepressible Spirit: Conversations with Human Rights Activists.  G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1996.

Susan Kuklin has compiled a series of interviews with human rights activist with topics ranging from freedom of expression to freedom from bondage to the rights of the child.

Langer, Lawrence L., ed.  Art from the Ashes: A Holocaust Anthology.  Oxford University Press, 1995.

 Art from the Ashes is an anthology of poetry, prose, artwork, and drama about the Holocaust, including works created inside the Terezin concentration camp.4

Laye, Camara (French Guinea).  The Dark Child.  Noonday Press, 1954.

 An insightful view into the world of a child raised in a fromer European colony and the conflicting pressures of his tribal world of shamanism and the French colonial legacy.

Levi, Primo (Italy).  Survival in Auschwitz.  Simon and Schuster, 1996.

From the publisher’s review on Barnes and Noble's web site:  "In 1943, Primo Levi, a twenty-five-year-old chemist and 'Italian citizen of Jewish race,' was arrested by Italian fascists and deported from his native Turin to Auschwitz. Survival in Auschwitz is Levi's classic account of his ten months in the German death camp, a harrowing story of systematic cruelty and miraculous endurance. Remarkable for its simplicity, restraint, compassion, and even wit…"

Also: Return to Auschwitz.

Menchu, Rigoberta, with Elisabeth Burgos-Davis (Guatemala).  I, Rigoberta Menchu: an Indian Woman in Guatemala.  Verso, 1984.

 An autobiography of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, a Guatemalan Indian who has struggled for her people’s rights.

Okihiro, Gary Y.  Whispered Silences: Japanese Americans and World War II.  University of Washington Press, 1996.

Whispered Silences is a photographic and testimonial history of Japanese American experiences with prejudice and internment.***

Partnoy, Alicia (Argentina).  The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival in Argentina.  Cleis Press, 1986.

Vignettes from captivity when the author was one of the "disappeared" of Argentina.
Also: You Can’t Drown the Fire: Latin American Women Writing in Exile (1988)

Ratushinskaya, Irina (Russia).  Gray is the Color of Hope.  Knopf, 1988.

The autobiography of a Russian poet imprisoned for her dissident views.

Szymuciak, Moylda (Cambodia).  The Stones Cry Out: A Cambodian Childhood, 1975-1980.  Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1986.

 A Cambodian girl’s personal experience of war, forced labor camps, the "killing fields", flight, and eventual resettlement.  Only courage, will, and her Buddhist faith sustain her as she loses all her family to starvation and maltreatment.

Timmerman, Jacobo (Argentina).  Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number.  Knopf, 1981.

The author’s experiences as a political prisoner during the military junta are detailed in this famous book.

Valls, Jorge (Cuba).  Twenty Years and Forty Days: Life in a Cuban Prison.  America’s Watch Report, 1986.

This book is a personal account of a prisoner under Castro.

Wartski, Maureen Crane (USA).  A Boat to Nowhere.  Signet, 1980.

A novel by an American who spent the first 17 years of her life living in Japan.

Wiesel, Elie (Israel).  Night.  Bantam, 1960.

The personal narrative of a young boy who survives the holocaust with his life but not his faith.

Also: Dawn and many others.

Winner, David and  Peter Benenson: Taking a Stand Against Injustice-Amnesty International.  Gareth Stevens, 1991.

A biography of the founder of Amnesty International.

Women of South Asian Descent Collective. Our Feet Walk the Sky: Women of the South Asian Diaspora.  Aunt Lute Books, 1993.

Especially see "Can You Talk Mexican," and "Journal Entry," "Origins," "Pati Dev," "Alone and Exploited," and "To Motiba and Grandma."

Woods, Donald (South Africa).  Biko.  Peter Smith, 1983.

A journalist who has come to know human rights activist Steven Biko relates his investigation of Biko’s death at the hands of South African police and the journalist’s own subsequent censure and exile.

Wu, Harry (China).  Bitter Winds.  Wiley, 1994.

 An autobiographical account of Wu’s nineteen years in a Chinese forced-labor camp and his two daring returns to China to document these "gulags" after he had escaped to America.

Also: Troublemaker: One Man’s Crusade Against China’s Cruelty (1996)


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