Thursday, February 23, 2012

It isn't often that an informational text compels me to pick it off the shelf.  When I pull a nonfiction book off of the shelf it is usually because I "need" to.  I need a book about trees for a program, or I need to check some facts about penguins, for example.  It is a rare, rare time that I take a book out of sheer curiosity and desire.

One World, One Day is one of those informational books that I just had to open, and read, and then read again.   Is it any surprise that such an evocative book is published by National Geographic.  Written by Barbara Kerley, the poetic voice behind a series of children's books for National Geographic, this book describes a typical day from sunrise to sunset (breakfast, school, play, work, dinner, family, sleep).  Every activity is elaborated through photographs of children in countries around the world.  Spanish, Australian, and Bengali children eat breakfast.  In Yunnan Province, children walk to school.  Iraqi children play on a slide.  In Amazonas, Brazil children fall asleep in hammocks at the end of the day.  At the end of the book, each photograph is briefly described.

Children will delight in recognizing their own routine (story!) being told in the book, and in making comparisons between the photographs and between their own experiences.  Adults will appreciate the opportunity to talk about other countries, cultures, and communities.  One World, One Day gently introduces young children to the immensity of the world around them, at the same validating the importance of their existence and activities.  They may not be the center of the universe, but they certainly have a place in it...and it is a very hopeful place.

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