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Read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “tiny story” for hope

Girls Write Now Awards Photo by Janette Pellegrini/Getty Images for Girls Write Now
Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

One of the best things we can do with art is use it to imagine the kind of world we want. This week, in honor of Universal Children’s Day, UNICEF is partnering with 200 writers around the world to write “tiny stories” for hope and change and children’s rights.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of Americanah, has contributed the first story to the campaign, although it’s less a story than it is a prose poem:

I want every child to go to sleep well-fed

And not worry about the next meal

Or the next.

I want every child to have primary healthcare.

I want every child to be protected by adults.

And to take for granted the kindness of adults

And never to be treated like adults.

Aesthetically, it’s a straightforward enough piece, but in a time when children have begun saying things like, “I heard that if [Donald Trump] becomes president, all the black and brown people have to leave and we’re going to become slaves,” those last two lines pack a considerable punch.

“As writers we are able to advocate through the simplicity of storytelling. With this worthy and necessary campaign, we advocate for the protection of the rights of precious children all over the world,” Adichie said.

Chimamanda Adichie's tiny story UNICEF

The 200 writers cover 10 different languages between them, and the stories — each seven sentences long — range in style from Adichie’s prose poem to fairy tales. The 200 stories, whose writers include Paulo Coelho, Christina Lamb, and Nuruddin Farah, will be posted throughout the week on UNICEF’s website. Check them out when you need tiny doses of hope.

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