Universal Children's Day

Universal Children’s Day is celebrated on November 20 to bring awareness of children's rights and to create a better world for children.

Credit: UN Photo: Manuel Elias

Teachers: Visit the free MY HERO Lesson Plan for Universal Children's Day. Includes discussion guide and learning outcomes.


These heroes, past and present, uplift the voices of their communities through action.

Greta Thunberg

By: Xenia Shin
Climate Activist and Leader of the Global Youth Climate Movement

Malala Yousafzai: The One With a Voice

By: Alex Zakoor
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for girls' education and the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Emma González

By: Nikki F.

Emma González survived the Parkland High School shooting and successfully fought for improved gun legislation in Florida.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

By: Jane Wallace

Burke Harris believes toxic stress in children is both "treatable and beatable," but it must be acknowledged first.

Nkosi Johnson

Nkosi Johnson was an orphan infected by HIV who spoke out on behalf of children with AIDS.

Listen & Read Along

Ruby Nell Bridges

By: Madison
One of the most important heroes in the fight against segregation in America was a six-year-old girl, Ruby Nell Bridges.

Vivienne Harr

By: Sue Glader

Vivienne Harr founded Make a Stand Lemon-aid to raise funds for organizations that fight child slavery.

Ana Dodson

Ana Dodson formed Peruvian Hearts to provide Peruvian orphans an education.

Did you know?

On November 20, 1959, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. 


Artists celebrate the activism and determination of children to lead society in the right direction.

Sadako Sasaki

By: Saint George
Sadako Sasaki was a Japanese girl who was two years old when an American atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, near her home next to the Misasa Bridge.

Iqbal Masih

By: by Sydney from Laguna Beach

Iqbal Masih was a Pakistani Christian boy who became a symbol of abusive child labour in the developing world.


By: Marilyn Huerta

Malala, the young activist who champions girls' education worldwide, is painted here by Marilyn Huerta.

Samantha Smith

By: by Robert Shetterly

Samantha Reed Smith was an American girl who became known as "America's Youngest Ambassador" in the United States and the "Goodwill Ambassador" in the Soviet Union during her short lifetime.


She wrote : "If we could be friends by just getting to know each other better, then what are our countries really arguing about? Nothing could be more important than not having a war if a war could kill everything."

Grade school student and peace activist, (1972 - 1985) Samantha was just 10 years old when she wrote the premier of the Soviet Union to ask him about his intentions for waging war. Yuri Andropov invited her to visit the Soviet Union and the success of her trip launched a 3 year odyssey of traveling the world, advocating for peace. Tragically, she and her father were killed in a plane wreck while returning home after one of their numerous peace missions.



Watch the following films about children's rights activists.

He Named Me Malala - Official Trailer

Produced by:Laurie MacDonald
HE NAMED ME MALALA is a portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai.

Free the Children - WE Charity

Producer: Free the Children

"WE Charity carries the power of WE globally, empowering communities to lift themselves out of poverty through our holistic, sustainable international development model, Free The Children’s WE Villages."


Producer: Diane Namm

Young Vivienne Harr was deeply affected by the story of children suffering from human trafficking. So she founded Make a Stand Lemon-aid to raise funds for organizations that fight child slavery.

Right To Play [Excerpt]

Producer: Frank Marshall
Olympian Johann Olav Koss embarked on a remarkable journey to use sports to improve the lives of African children.

External Links

Learn about a New Hero Every Day of the Year: Visit the MY HERO Calendar

Students: Share Your Hero Essays, Films and Art through our Create Program

Outstanding essays submitted to MY HERO will be considered for a certificate/t-shirt prize or be featured on the Story Homepage.

Submit your artwork to be entered in the MY HERO art contest or to be exhibited on our Gallery Homepage.

Students can submit their films for free with a waiver to the MY HERO International Film Festival.

Our Curators


Hero Stories curated by MY HERO General Editor and Writer Shannon Luders-Manuel. Shannon is a critical mixed race scholar and writer based in Hollywood, CA. 


Short films curated by MY HERO International Film Festival director Wendy Milette


Artwork curated by MY HERO Arts Education and Gallery director Victoria Murphy. 

Organizer created on 11/17/2012 11:19:09 AM by Becky Miller

Last edited 10/14/2019 8:39:12 AM by Laura Nietzer