Peter Pan, the protagonist of J.M. Barrie’s novel, is best known as the boy who refused to grow up. He runs away the day he is born so that he will never have to become a man. Peter Pan is very naughty and, with Tinkerbell his fairy friend, creates all sorts of problems and has all sorts of adventures. One night, he flies into the house of the Darling family in London, to look for his lost shadow. There, he meets the children Wendy, John and Michael. He teaches them to fly too and takes them to the magical island of Never-land. They have adventures with pirates, Indians, a group of Little Lost Boys and the terrible Captain Hook.

In 1929, J.M. Barrie made an unexpected donation: he gave all the profits from the sales of Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London. Peter Pan’s magic continues, as the hospital still receives all royalties from the sale of the books and theatre productions.

Peter Pan loves being a boy and refuses the adult’s world of responsibility. He has become a symbol of youthful innocence and has inspired film makers and writers for over a century. Many children would love the chance to stay young and to spend their days in endless play. Unfortunately, because of adult pressure, they are often forced to grow up quickly and sometimes don’t have the opportunity to play even when they are little.

The Declaration of Children’s Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1959, states that every child has the right to play and have fun.

 

Here is a summary of the Declaration of Children’s Rights.

Every child has the right to

  1. be born well, and to be cared and raised well.
  2. live with a family, who loves, cares and teaches good morals to him or her.
  3. have proper care and importance from other people.
  4. to have the basic needs of people such as food, shelter, water, clothing and health care.
  5. have everything he or she needs for a better life.
  6. be educated.
  7. play and enjoy whenever they have the opportunity.
  8. be protected from abuse of adults.
  9. live peacefully away from bad influences.
  10. be cared for whenever their parents are not available or cannot sustain their needs.
  11. be living in a good government who helps them strengthen their faith and to become better citizens.
  12. grow up peacefully and getting what they want for the good of their lives.

Every year Universal Child’s Day is celebrated on 20th November to remember the rights of children. It is described as “A fun day with a serious message”. You can find lots of initiatives to raise awareness of this day at #worldchildrensday

 

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Illustration by Alida Massari, taken from Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie, Green Apple, Starter (CEFR A1)