Today we’re journeying about the globe… by river, by sailing ship, by breakfast menu…discovering everything from peace-makers to parathas. Feed your curiosity with these fascinating books!
Pancakes to Parathas: Breakfast Around the World, written by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by Tomoko Suzuki
published in 2019 by little bee books
Do a little globe trotting to discover what kids eat for breakfast in 12 locations. Rhyming text swings us along a route from Australia to Japan, China, India, Israel, Nigeria, the Netherlands, the UK, Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, and the U.S.
A small paragraph of additional text hits the highlights of typical breakfast ingredients in these places, from Vegemite to Ci fan tuan (sticky rice) to cafe con leche (coffee with milk). Obviously these are huge generalizations in countries such as these with immensely diverse populations, but for a snappy, colorful first step into cultural explorations, it’s a fun and delicious approach! Ages 6 and up.
Cook’s Cook: The Cook who Cooked for Captain Cook, written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop
published in 2018 by Gecko Press
Continuing with the food topic, I’ve a feeling that the menus presented in this book will be quite a bit less appetizing than the breakfasts above!
Gavin Cook’s fascinating account of Captain James Cook’s 1768-1771 voyage around the world is told via journal entries by the ship’s cook, John Thompson. Beginning with an itemization of the stores he had loaded onto HMS Endeavour, Thompson describes his cooking methods, the immense difficulties encountered en route, the highly unusual adaptations to local ingredients and skimpy stores required of him, and even some recipes of sorts he concocted along the way. Dog and Breadfruit Stew, anyone?
Brilliant illustrations, riveting detail, generous splashes of humor, and as a bonus — your kids will never complain about what you feed them again! Thanks to Gecko Press for bringing us this New Zealand gem! Ages 7 and up.
Peace and Me, written by Ali Winter, illustrated by Mickaël El Fathi
published in 2018 by Lantana Publishing
Take a different kind of voyage across time and around the globe, this time gathering stories of world renowned peacemakers. Winter has written mini-biographies of 12 winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Starting in 1901 with Jean Henry Durant, a Swiss man awarded the prize for his creation of the Red Cross, we meet men and women from the U.S., Guatemala, the UK, Norway, Kenya, South Africa, Iran, and India, before concluding with the 2014 prize-winner, Malala Yousafzai, originally from Pakistan. The brief accounts are accompanied by vivid collage work and a map showing the homelands of each one. I am so glad to see this book! Thought-provoking, hopeful, saluting some truly praiseworthy lives, it’s a great choice for ages 7 and up.
Animal Antipodes: Global Opposites, written and illustrated by Carly Allen-Fletcher
published in 2018 by Creston Books
Do you know what an antipode is? It’s the direct opposite of something. Thus, each location on Earth has an antipode — a place directly opposite it. As in — when you dig down in your sandbox, if you could tunnel exactly straight through the Earth, the spot you would land is your home’s antipode.
That’s an intriguing approach to geography! This book reveals 11 sets of global antipodes for us, using a clever format, and focusing on animal life in these spots. Each brightly illustrated page spread shows one location on the top half with just a sentence or two of description:
Then we flip the book over to see who lives on the opposite side of the globe.
At the book’s end, the author calls our attention to the fact that day and night, and seasons are also flipped when we survey antipodes. It’s a curiosity-sparking way to view the world for ages 4 and up.
Rivers: A Visual History from River to Sea, written and illustrated by Peter Goes
originally published in the Dutch language; English edition 2018 by Gecko Press
Finally, this visually-stunning, coffee-table-sized book displaying the major rivers of the world and the swarm of history, culture, nature, peoples, mythology, that accompanies and surrounds them on their journeys to the sea.
It is hard to describe how much information is packed into this book, and how engrossing it is! Nor how many rabbit trails of lore and fact you might be compelled to run down after reading this or that tidbit about these tantalizing places.
Grouped by continent, Peter Goes first provides a map of that region, gloriously overflowing with details that bring it to life, then zooms in on the areas immediately surrounding several of its important rivers. There are more than two dozen specific areas to pore over here, from the Yukon to the Waikato. Fodder enough for enthusiastic map-lovers ages 8 to 80!