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The Forward and Backward City



Two young boys live in the same futuristic city but come from very different worlds. Kabwe seems to have everything, whereas Tatenda struggles to survive in the slums. Their unlikely friendship leads to the exposure of government corruption that sustains child poverty. As they learn about universal human rights, Kabwe and Tatenda become the catalysts of change to create a brighter future for their community and all the children that live there.

General Assessment

Recommendation of how and where to use it

Delivering a powerful message about children's rights as defined by the UN Convention this book would make an excellent introduction to social studies lessons exploring this topic. Students could examine and assess UN Sustainable Development Goals from the perspective of their own community to determine what types of actions can be implemented at a local level to benefit youth.                                     

 A class could also connect with a school in a developing country to learn about barriers to education in poorer regions. Students could implement a stewardship project where they partner with a technical college to collect and refurbish older computers/tablets to donate to the school they have communicated with.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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Themes Addressed

Human Rights (3)

  • Education
  • Poverty
  • Social Justice