Monday, October 17, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Children Around the World

For today's Nonfiction Monday, I am highlighting several books that give a glimpse of what life is like for children around the world. I used these books to show the students that while there are major differences in the way people live around the world, there are similarities also.

If the World Were a Village (Second Edition)
written by David J. Smith, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong
Kids Can Press, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-55453-595-8
All Ages
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURB:

There are currently more than six billion people on the planet! This enormous number can be difficult to grasp, especially for a child. But what if we imagine the whole world as a village of just 100 people? In a time when parents and educators are looking to help children gain a better understanding of the world's peoples and their ways of life, If the World Were a Village offers a unique and objective resource. By exploring the lives of the 100 villagers, children will discover that life in other nations is often very different from their own. The shrunk-down statistics — some surprising, some shocking — and David Smith's tips on building "world-mindedness" will encourage readers to embrace the bigger picture and help them to establish their own place in the global village.
I used the second edition with my students.  The second edition includes updated numbers and statistics. One of the things I like about this book is that it takes huge numbers that are too mind-boggling for students to really understand and makes it understandable.  I also like the way the pictures compliment the text.  This is a great book for helping students learn to look beyond their own neighborhood.

This Child, Every Child: A Book about the World's Children
written by David J. Smith, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong
Kids Can Press, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-55453-466-1
Grades K and up
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURB:
 A groundbreaking book of statistics and stories that compare the lives of children around the world today. Every second of every day, four more children are added to the world's population of over 2.2 billion children. Some of these 2.2 billion children will be cared for and have enough to eat and a place to call home. Many others will not be so fortunate. The bestselling author-illustrator team behind the phenomenal If the World Were a Village and If America Where a Village return with a revealing and beautifully illustrated glimpse into the lives of children around the world. This Child, Every Child uses statistics and stories to draw kids into the world beyond their own borders and provide a window into the lives of their fellow children. As young readers will discover, there are striking disparities in the way children live. Some children lack opportunities that others take for granted. What is it like to be a girl in Niger? How are some children forced into war? How do children around the world differ in their home and school lives? This Child, Every Child answers such questions and sets children's lives against the rights they are guaranteed under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This book includes not only numbers and percentages, but also individual examples of the differences and similarities between children from different countries.  This book provides a good introduction to global studies.

A Life Like Mine: How children live around the world
DK Publishing, 2002
ISBN: 978-0-7566-1803-2
Grades K and up
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURB:
Profiling children from all over the globe leading their lives in different and fascinating ways, the challenges of nations both developed and developing are revealed in the stories and photographs in this special volume.
This is my favorite of the three books I mention here.  This book provides plenty of interesting photographs and quick glimpses into the lives of children from all over the world.  I appreciated the fact that it focuses on the four major areas that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child decided are necessary for children to have a happy life.   Those four things are survival (water, food, shelter, etc.), development (school,etc.), protection (love and care, etc.), and participation (nationality, religion, etc.).  Each section focuses on children who do and do not have their needs met.  I had some good discussions with my older students (4th and 5th grade) about what human beings need to be happy.

Overall, these three books provided a great beginning for a year of learning about people and places around the world.
 
Visit Simply Science for more great Nonfiction Monday entries.

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