Nobel Peace Prize winning grassroots human rights organisation Amnesty International, a global movement that protects people, providing justice, freedom and dignity, highlighting causes and issues around the climate crisis, migration, human rights, crises, women’s rights, equality, free speech and more, have several bookstores in the UK, supporting their causes.
On International Human Rights Day, the 10th December, we visited the Amnesty Bookshop in Hammersmith on King Street, which had originally started as a stall in the Hammersmith & City Line tube station by Amnesty members Christine Pain and Dick Langton. Its success propelled other bookshops to open around the UK. A second branch in London opened in Kentish Town, alongside those in Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Great Malvern, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norwich and York. The Hammersmith branch is run by dedicated volunteers and manager Sonia, who kindly explained about the bookshop’s activities and role.
The Amnesty Bookshop in Hammersmith, London
Sonia from the The Amnesty Bookshop in Hammersmith, London
Upon visiting, the Amnesty Hammersmith bookshop a warm welcome comes through the people working there and the variety of good quality books that have been donated fill the space with pages of stories and knowledge to dip into.
A diverse range of donated books, from fiction to non-fiction, from art to cookbooks, to children’s books, and even a cabinet of rare and collectable books are ready to fly off the shelves into new homes, with each purchase helping Human Rights causes.
There are books on Human Rights such as 'My Little Book of Big Freedoms' illustrated by Chris Riddell, an Amnesty International book which highlights 16 illustrated and different human right freedoms: life, protection, freedom, safety, fairness, justice, family, belief, thought, togetherness, love, solidarity, ownership, knowledge, hope and mercy.
Sonia holding 'My Little Book of Big Freedoms' illustrated by Chris Riddell at the The Amnesty Bookshop in Hammersmith, London
Mahima a volounteer in her spare time at the bookshop, shared on the Hammersmith Amnesty Bookshop Instagram page a selection of Human Rights Books available at the bookshop, including: 'Peace and Me' by Ali Winter and Michaël El Fathi, 'For The Right To Learn, Malal Yousafzai's Story' by Rebecca Langston-George, illustrated by Janna Bock, 'Know Your Rights and Claim Them, A Guide For Youth' by Amnesty International, Angelina Jolie and Geraldine Van Buerren.
Joachim who has kindly been volounteering for many years at the The Amnesty Bookshop in Hammersmith, London, with a box of donated books
Donations of books are welcome all week, once brought in, they are categorized for the bookshelves of the shop. Some of the donated books are also given to schools in Lewisham and in Africa.
Books are a great way to start conversations, showcase perspectives, enter into worlds through words and stories. A book is a gateway to widening our imagination but also our understanding, and when it may support helping defend our Human Rights, then what best than to shop for a cause that affects us all, or even to donate books to do so.
The Amnesty Bookshop, 175 King Street, Hammersmith, London, W6 9JT
The bookshop is open all week and it also carries items such as cards, posters, visual arts and t-shirts adorning human rights messages