Reading My Rights – Learn about the law through literature

Reading my Rights – Stories can help us make sense of the world. They can take us to different places and times. They offer escape when we need to leave our own place and time behind for an hour or two. Stories can also make us think about situations we might experience ourselves, and make us wonder why something happened.

A shelf full of books. Reading My Rights looks at the law through literature

There are often situations in stories to which legal rules apply. The legal rules are often left out of a story – authors might think that readers aren’t interested in the legal reason that something has happened. On the other hand, for someone who finds themselves in that situation, knowing what the rules are, knowing why something could or did happen might be helpful. Our blog project ‘Reading My Rights’ will look at some popular books explain some of the legal rules that are working behind the scenes in the stories – and what would happen in Wales in ‘in real life’.


The Nearest Faraway Place – Hayley Long

The Nearest Faraway Place by Hayley Long in 2017, won the Tir na n-Og prize in 2018. It tells the story of brothers Griff and Dylan who must move to Aberystwyth to live with a distant relative and her husband. It’s a great read, covering grief, the relationship between brothers, and ultimately hope as Griff and Dylan navigate through the terrible situations they find themselves in and start to see what the future might look like. It also helps us understand what the law can do to protect children and young people like Griff and Dylan.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket

We are always told that we should listen to adults as they’re older than us and know best. This is normally the case and most children are lucky enough to have parents that look after them and tell them what to do because they love them and wish to protect them. Unfortunately, some adults mistreat children and believe that they can get away with it simply because they are older and bigger.

The Story of Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson

‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’ written by Jacqueline Wilson follows the life of Tracy Beaker who is ten years old and is one of many children in care – She lives in a children’s care home which she calls’ the dumping ground. Tracy is always in trouble and is always arguing with the other children in the home, especially Justine Littlewood!

Lies We Tell Ourselves – Robin Talley

Set in mid twentieth century America, when the civil rights battle for the African American community was raging. ‘Lies we tell ourselves’ is a novel that examines the basic human rights everyone has, irrespective of where they are from or the colour of their skin. In this blog, I’ve highlighted how human rights are not respected by some of the characters in the novel and where the law in Wales and the United Kingdom would protect against this if it were to happen today.

Matilda – Roald Dahl

Matilda. If you haven’t read it (or seen the film, or the musical), it’s about a brilliant little girl whose family treat her like dirt – and it’s only when she meets Miss Honey, her teacher, that an adult really starts to appreciate her. But before Matilda can find her happy ending, she has to battle her family and the monstrous Miss Trunchbull, head teacher at Crunchem Hall Primary School.