Sunday, January 2, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Reading Around the World (ages 3 - 9)

You and Me Together: Moms, Dads, and Kids Around the WorldOne of my New Years Resolutions is to read more about the world around us, broadening out view out to other cultures and other places. Two picture books that put me in the mood for exploring other cultures is You and Me Together and One World, One Day, both by the amazing, versatile Barbara Kerley.. While it's geared to young kids, I think it appeals to all ages.
You and Me Together
Moms, Dads, and Kids Around the World

by Barbara Kerley
DC: National Geographic, 2005
ages 3 - 7
available on Amazon and at your local public library
Using simple, poetic language, Kerley helps children see how similar their experiences might be to other children in very different parts of the world. Children throughout the world share special times with their families: sharing a joke, playing music together, going for a walk hand in hand, or taking a nap. Kerley has paired these ideas with vibrant full-color photographs from the National Geographic collection that show children and their parents together from many cultures. At the end of the book, there is a map showing the location of each picture and a short paragraph giving information about the picture. Young readers will find it easier to connect the places to the pictures using the thumbnail shots of the photos from the book. At first I was frustrated that this information wasn't included in the main text, but I think having it at the end helps readers connect it to the map and keeps the poetry and simplicity of the main text intact.
One World, One DayOne World, One Day
by Barbara Kerley
DC: National Geographic, 2009
ages 3 - 9
available on Amazon and at your local library
In One World, One Day, Kerley also pairs engaging, vibrant photographs with simple text to open readers' eyes to the world, showing how similar we are, even though we live in very different places. Beginning at dawn, Kerley shows children starting their day with basic, every day activities. Throughout the day, children eat meals with their family, go to school, play with friends, do their chores, and finally go to sleep. As Kerley said in an interview with Rebecca Hogue Wojahn,
"My goal for the book was to share the idea that kids in America have lives remarkably similar to the lives of kids all over the world–that in spite of our differences, we have much in common.  So the book is a great mix of familiar and unexpected." 
The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According To Susy)Barbara Kerley is a tremendously versatile author. The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins won a Caldecott for the illustrations by Brain Selznick, but Kerley's writing about this Victorian artist and scientist is absolutely engaging as well. She's also the author of the California Young Reader nominee for middle grade readers: Greetings from Planet Earth, a novel about space exploration, the Vietnam War and secrets. And finally, her most recent book, The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Suzy), has gotten wonderful reviews both for its engaging, creative approach to writing a biography, and for Edwin Fotheringam's illustrations.

For more wonderful nonfiction, head over to Charlotte's Library for a taste of nonfiction as bloggers throughout the web celebrate Nonfiction Monday. During 2011, I will make a concerted effort to share more books about reading around the world, books that help us see how we are similar and how we can understand our differences.

The review copies came from my school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support.

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