Primer of childrens rights

First edition · RSUM · 1995.

UN Convention on the Children’s rights requires, in Article 42, Contracting Parties to adequately introduce the children within the provisions of this law, and to govern the rights of children as stated by the United Nations. Ljubivoje Ršumović did this in a poetic way, which is better understood by the children with the most important articles of the Convention given in verse, also with the child in first person for whom the article is concerned. The verses are followed by the Survey, in which elementary school children in Belgrade comment on some articles of the Convention.

It consists of two characters, dramaturgically, psychologically and skillfully introduced – Grumpy, old school, which denies children’s rights, and a Doctor for problems, with a bias towards children, and encourages them to be themselves, standing up for their rights.

The book followed two methodological textbooks: “What to do” by Prof. Dr Ivo Ivic, and “How to do” by Beljanski Ljubica Ristic, which suggest to lecturers and teachers in schools how to creatively cover topics from the book with the children. The book was published as a project by the Friends of Children of Serbia organization. In just five years there were over three hundred workshops throughout Serbia, where instructors from Friends of Children trained educational workers in order to implement Primer when talking to children about their rights.

Translated into English, Italian, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovak and Romany language in 1995.

Verse translated by Dragoslav Andric.
Illustrated by Dobrosav Bob Zivkovic.

  • Winner of UNESCO Prize for Children’s and Young People’s Literature in the Service of Tolerance for 1996.
  • NEVEN Prize for the “Turning point book” awarded by Serbian Friends of children Organization for 1995.
  • October Prize“, an award of the City of Belgrade for the Most Valuable Achievement in Literature for 1995.

Who’s Doctor for problems

The fellow who chooses
Words tender and nice,
Who smiles, and who uses
To give wise advice,

Who leads children out
Of the unsafe wood,
And who is throughout
Sincere, kind and good,

Ready to provide
Kids with what they need,
Always on kids’ side,
Helps them to succeed,

Defies bears or snakes
Keeping them at bay,
And readily takes
Part in song or play,

Leads you, when you’re sad,
To a fairyland,
Like your mum or dad
He’s always at hand.

He keeps children’s tiny
Secrets like his own,
Tells stories shiny
Like none in your town,

His mistakes are slight,
Easy to erase,
He solves overnight
The problems you face…

Who is, then, that cutie,
Always on the spot?
The DOCTOR on duty
FOR PROBLEMS you’ve got!

Who’s Frowny

His heart is of ice,
He’s there to forbid,
He is never nice
To the nicest kid.

Like some sulky crow,
He just croaks and croaks,
Doesn’t even know
Any tales or jokes.

Like a toothless crone,
Like a vain giraffe,
Doesn’t even know
To play or to laugh.

Always with a tie,
A twig in his hand,
He would rather pry
Then he’d understand.

Like ill-tempered owls,
He grumbles and growls,
Or eavesdrops and spies
With vigilant eyes.

He just walks about,
Rebukes, curses, shouts,
Or, full of some doubts,
He would at least pout.

He is like a wasp,
A thorn, or a spike,
He will never grasp
What childhood is like.

Who constantly schemes
To undo a game
Or nice children’s dreams?
FROWNY’s his name!