Posts Tagged ‘families’

wolf-in-the-snow-cover-imageWolf in the Snow, by Matthew Cordell
published in 2017 by Feiwel and Friends

My top pick for Valentine’s Day might seem unusual at first glance, but believe me — this is a book about love! Love within a family — anchoring, steadfast — and sacrificial love for the stranger. It touched my heart deeply.

Cordell’s wordless story features a little girl living in a northerly home where wolves dwell and blizzards swirl. On her way home from school one day, snow begins falling so fast and furious that she becomes utterly enveloped in it. Lost.


She’s not the only one. One frowsy wolf pup gets separated from its pack. As the little girl plods her way along, she comes across it, shivering, scared, whimpering. From far across the snow-covered hills she hears the mournful howling of the pack.

What to do?

The safe thing, of course, is to apologize to the pup and keep on her homeward journey! She’s cold and forlorn herself. Fatigued from pushing through that deep snow. Night falls early. Wolves are toothy! It’s certainly much more sensible to worry about her own self rather than that scruffy pup.

But scooping him up in her arms, she sets off across the snowy wasteland. It’s quite a journey and Cordell’s masterful pacing and artwork sweep us right into it. Not only do we experience the physical exertion, but also a powerful range of emotions.


 I was stunned by all that is stuffed into this small tale — beauty, heroism, courage, kindness, gorgeous wolves, the warmth of home, and above all one little girl’s willingness to put another’s needs ahead of her own. Brilliant, for ages 3 and up.

thelinesonnanasface-cover-imageThe Lines on Nana’s Face, written and illustrated by Simona Ciraolo
published in 2016 by Flying Eye Books

This is truly one of the dearest books I’ve seen in a long time.

It’s Nana’s birthday and her granddaughter is excited to celebrate with her. She knows how much Nana loves to have her family all together. Yet this little girl has a niggling concern.

Sometimes it’s hard to read Nana’s face and know if she’s entirely, completely happy because of all the lines wrinkling across it.


Nana assures her that those lines don’t bother her a bit, because “it is in these lines that I keep all my memories!” Doubtful, her granddaughter quizzes her on each wrinkle. Which memory is tucked in that one, Nana? And in this one?

Nana easily relates the happy — and one sad — memories creased into her beautiful face. That includes one of the most precious memories of all.


Ciraolo’s palette of luscious pinks, sunshine yellow, warm biscuit browns, and glowing spring greens washes through this book like a glad smile. The rounded baby shapes of granddaughter and dignified angles of grandmother fit together, hand-in-glove, while life swirls and curls happily around them. A treasure of grandmotherly love to share with ages 2 and up.

i-love-you-too-cover-imageLove You, Too, written by Alastair Heim, illustrated by Alisa Coburn
published in 2016 by little bee books

Mama pig and her little porker move through a merry day together in this charmer. From morning wake-up and pancake breakfast, to jolly outings, baths, jammies and stories at day’s end, these two thoroughly enjoy one another’s company.

It’s the call-and-response text in this book that separates it from the rest, and it’s an absolute blast! “When I say ‘I love,’ you say ‘you.’ I love…YOU! I love…YOU!


Passing the words back and forth with young children in this singy, swingy rhythm can’t help but bring out the smiles!


Alisa Coburn’s pigs are hugely endearing. Her delicate line and candy-colored palette fill the pages with breeziness and jovial energy. Great fun for ages 2 and up.

delivery-cover-imageDelivery, by Aaron Meshon
published in 2017 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Grandma looks at her calendar at the start of this almost-wordless story and spots a big red heart on it marking a very special day. It’s coming up quick! She’d better hurry!

Bustling away in the kitchen, Grandma zips together trays full of lipstick-red, heart-shaped cookies, then packs them tenderly in a box and seals it with love. The delivery man takes it from her doorstep, and we’re off!


Off on the wildest, craziest, most exciting delivery route ever! By truck and ship, train and helicopter! Even by whale-spout and dog-sled! The package must go on! Hand it off! Hold on tight! Move it along!


Meshon’s exuberant imagination and bold, stylish designs will utterly entrance young children. At story’s end is perhaps the most surprising picture of all! Don’t miss it — it’s on the endpapers.

Packed with smiles and love, for ages 2 and up.

i-heart-you-cover-imageI Heart You, written by Meg Fleming, illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright
published in 2016 by Beach Lane Books

This sweet book is flush with tenderness, as soft and gentle as a lullaby.

Animal mamas and babies snuggle in burrows, romp in grassy patches, gather in nests, while a quietly-rhyming text describes all the ways those babies are loved.


All this takes place near a bright red house with a large garden where another mama and her little girl are picking raspberries. In the dusky twilight, they enjoy loving one another, too.


It’s a mellow, sweet refrain to share with little ones 18 months and up.

There are more Valentine’s-oriented titles in the Subject Index, if you like. Happy Valentine’s Day!


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this is my home this is my school cover imageThis is My Home, This is My School, written and illustrated by Jonathan Bean
published in 2015 by Farrar Straus Giroux

Okay. This is a book I’ve been waiting for.

Jonathan Bean has delivered an authentic, marvelously-chaotic, loving glimpse of a homeschooling family who charge into the juiciness of life, explore and experiment with abandon, make messes, cultivate curiosity, and embrace the world as their classroom.

this is my home this is my school illustration jonathan bean

Relying on his own experience growing up in this environment, Bean is able to capture — finally! — that mixture of mayhem and creativity and mom, energy and inventiveness and freedom; the seamless intermingling of learning, living, playing, and working; the feast of ideas spread everywhere and responded to by various ones in their various ways.

this is my home this is my school illustration4 jonathan bean

This is how our homeschool looked, too, and it is a curious joy, and somehow a validating experience, to see it presented so positively, so artistically, with such verve and good humor.

If you’ve read Bean’s earlier book, Building Our House (and if you haven’t — you should) you will easily recognize the setting — that homey house set among Pennsylvania’s rolling, wooded hills — and family. The children are older now, though, and their independent, high-spirited lives are portrayed in much more rambunctious line and color than previously. There’s a grand lot to take in, in every scene.

this is my home this is my school illustration2 jonathan bean

Homeschooling is an unfamiliar world to most families, and its portrayal in children’s literature is, understandably, scant. A character might be homeschooled out of some sort of dire necessity, but soon enough they return to “real” school. (Surviving the Applewhites is a delightful exception.) I applaud Farrar Straus Giroux and Jonathan Bean for publishing a new viewpoint of this odd lifestyle some of us have adopted. Thank you.

Certainly homeschooling is not a practical choice, nor the best choice, for most families. I hope that if you’re part of the vast majority of the population who aren’t home educators, you’ll still treat yourself to this book. The delights of living and learning together belong to all of us, to cultivate all our lives. For that reason, I think you’ll come away from this brief tour of one boy’s homeschool encouraged to, as Bean says, scavenge for something to learn in every moment.

this is my home this is my school illustration3 jonathan bean

Ages 3 and up. And P.S. — There’s a swell scrapbook of vintage Bean family photographs in the end pages. Too fun.

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This week — ten gracefully-aging books celebrating summer at the beach.

a beloved Frank Asch favorite

sand cake cover image

Sand Cake, written and illustrated by Frank Asch
originally published in 1978; this edition 2015 by Aladdin

One of my favorites from when my kids were small, this story shines with imagination and warmth.

sand cake interior by frank asch

Baby Bear and Papa Bear concoct one clever, make-believe Sand Cake, while Mama Bear provides a scrumptious alternative. Soooo imaginative and affectionate. A bunch of Frank Asch’s old titles are being republished. My advice: Scoop them up! Ages 2 and up.

a pleasant Swedish beach story

will goes to the beach cover image

Will Goes to the Beach, by Olof and Lena Landström
originally published in Sweden in 1992; English edition 1995 by R&S Books

Will and Mama are heading to the beach in this carefree, comfortable tale from the team giving us the Pim stories.

will goes to the beach interior by olof and lena landstrom

After a long bike ride, they finally arrive just in time for the rain to start. But does that stop Will and Mama? Not a bit! A briefly told, calm & happy story of seashores and swimming and picnics. Ages 2 and up.

heading down under for an Aussie holiday

greetings from sandy beach cover image

Greetings from Sandy Beach, written and illustrated by Bob Graham
published in Australia in 1990; first U.S. edition 1992 by Kane/Miller Book Publishers

Quintessential Bob Graham goodness here, with this  marvelously-average family jaunting off to the beach for a couple of days.

greetings from sandy beach illustration bob graham

Carsickness. A motorcycle gang. A busload of schoolkids. Difficulties with tent set-up. Graham excels at making the mundane feel as endearing as it truly is. Enjoy this sweet, funny glimpse of real family life, with ages 4 and up.

off to the Oregon coast with Grandma

grandma summer cover image

Grandma Summer, written and illustrated by Harley Jessup
published in 1999 by Viking

Young Ben is being whisked off to spend time with his grandma at her old cottage on the shore. Ben is not a fan of this plan.

grandma summer illustration harley jessup

It doesn’t take long, though, for the simplicity and beauty of this place, and the moxie and joy of his most excellent grandma, to capture Ben’s heart. A delightful, warm, and refreshing read for ages 4 and up.

British beach superheroes, up next

traction man and the beach odyssey cover image

Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey, written and illustrated by Mini Grey
published in the UK in 2011; first U.S. edition 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf

If you haven’t met Traction Man yet, you’ll want to make his acquaintance. He’s a small action figure whose best pal is his pet Scrubbing Brush. Together, these two have some mighty adventures.

traction man and the beach odyssey interior by mini grey

This time it’s off for a holiday at the beach where they encounter underwater creatures, accidentally wash out to sea, and meet some dollies named Beach-Time Brenda! Funny and action-packed, with a bit of a Toy Story feel, for ages 5 and up.

a tender toddler tale from Helen Oxenbury

tom and pippo on the beach cover image

Tom and Pippo on the Beach, written and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
published in the UK in 1992; first U.S. edition 1993 by Candlewick Press

Tom and Pippo are some of Helen Oxenbury’s most enduring and endearing characters. If you have toddlers, you should seek out some of these little books; they’ll be loved to death.

tom and pippo on the beach illustration helen oxenbury

In this episode, Tom and Pippo (his snuggly monkey) spend a day with Dad at the beach and have some interesting encounters with hats. Extremely simple and simply perfect, for ages 1 and up.

sheer craziness, along the coast of Maine

down to the sea with mr. magee cover image

Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
published in 2000 by Chronicle Books

Chris Van Dusen’s electric-bright illustrations, bursting with vigor, sunshine, and pandemonium will draw anyone into this wild tale.

down to the sea with mr. magee interior by chris van dusen

Magee and his faithful dog Dee are heading out to sea for a pleasure ride when they run amok with a pod of whales and Whoa Nellie! — does the day ever turn out unexpectedly! A blast of crazy adventure and humor, for ages 4 and up.

one helpful chicken at the beach

lottie's new beach towel cover image

Lottie’s New Beach Towel, written and illustrated by Petra Mathers
first published 1998; this edition 2001 by Aladdin Paperbacks

Lottie the chicken receives a cheerful new beach towel — cherry red with white polka-dots — just in time for her beach picnic with her pal, Herbie.

lottie's new beach towel interior by petra mathers

And what a handy towel it turns out to be! Find out all its fortuitous uses  including saving the day for a beach wedding, in this perky little story, for ages 2 and up.

town mouse and the country mouse — the beach sequel

charlie and tyler at the seashore cover iamge

Charlie and Tyler at the Seashore, written and illustrated by Helen Craig
published in 1995 by Candlewick Press

From the illustrator of the darling Angelina Ballerina books comes this second episode in the lives of Charlie, the country mouse and his cousin, Tyler, the town mouse.

charlie and tyler at the seashore interior helen craig

This time they’re off to the beach and what a lot of adventures await them! Far too many for Charlie’s tastes. Boat rides, toy theaters, and a peckish spell in a seagull nest! Home sweet home never felt so good. Ages 4 and up.

an epic adventure for some kittens, courtesy of John Goodall

the surprise picnic cover image

The Surprise Picnic, a wordless book by John Goodall
published in 1977 by Atheneum

No one does wordless quite like John Goodall.  With his half-page turns that change the scene and advance the story, and his adorable small creatures in their charming English environs. Fantastic.

the surprise picnic interior by john goodall

It’s a beautiful day and Mama Cat is taking her kittens on a picnic. Off they row across the bay to a secluded beach where they spread out the tea and tarts. That’s when the surprises begin however, as the most extraordinary sequence of adventures unfolds! Will this trio ever return to their comfy home? A treat for ages 2 and up.

More beach and summer titles are listed in the Subject Index under Seasons — Summer.
Why not beat the heat with some lemonade and a good book!

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red butterfly cover imageRed Butterfly, by A.L. Sonnichsen, illustrated by Amy June Bates
published in 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers


Such a yearning in the human heart — to belong someplace. To belong to someone — a family; a group. Someone.

Once I wrote the word “belonging” here, I began to wonder: What is the origin of this word? What does it mean, to belong?


Apparently it comes from Middle English. It means “to be appropriately assigned to.” Here — Here is where you can thrive.

old_homestead sepia

The “long” part carries the sense of being together-with. There is a sense of a rightness about the place and company you find yourself together with. It’s where you fit. It’s the just right spot where we feel settled and at peace, in the company of people who know and love us.


Red Butterfly is a poignant story of one girl’s hunger for belonging in the midst of a tumult of displacement. It’s a riveting, emotional novel-in-verse, and I highly recommend it for middle-grade readers through adults.

chinese-orphans2Kara is Chinese by birth, abandoned as an infant, and raised in China by an American woman. Her upbringing has been peculiar. Chinese on the outside; American on the inside. Her mother cloisters herself in their apartment and cautions Kara against over-mingling with others. 

We are as much in the dark as Kara about the strangeness of this pride and prejudicelife. Why is this devoted mother so secretive? Why is an American woman staying locked away in China while her husband and grown daughter live in Montana? Why must Kara remain so isolated?

With the answers comes a monumental upheaval in Kara’s life. A tearing away that is bewildering, frightening, and searing to her very core. 

In one terrible flash, strangers, it seems, have more of a say in where Kara belongs than she does. Who decides who we are and where we belong? How do we face separation from the people we love and places where we feel at home? Can we be separated from our true self and how do we right that? How do we adjust to new spaces of belonging?

The book employs a metaphor of metamorphosis, with sections Butterflies-butterflies-9186362-640-480titled Crawl, Dissolve, and Fly. Kara is an immensely compelling character and we feel, viscerally, the huge, raw emotions of her journey. It’s an amazingly honest, unflinching story, borne out of the author’s experience and others’ experiences. Small, whispery, illustrations in black-and-white complement the mood of the text.

Although I believe throngs of people will love this book, let me recommend it especially to a few groups of people:

Third-culture-kids and their families.

Foster families and fostered children ages 11 and up.

Those with a heart for orphans and adoption, especially international or special needs adoptions.

 If that’s not you, don’t skip it! But if it is — don’t miss this old pianopowerful story. Dominated by female characters, it will appeal more to girls, I think. A lovely Author’s Note tells of her own experiences which led to the book.

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vintage big sisterThere are a lot of older-sibling  stories out there riding the “babies-are-such-a-pain” train.

I am sure many of them hit the sweet spot, but honestly, in our household the new babies were warmly welcomed, kissed, doted on, sung to…most of the time, at least.

When my kids were small, I always looked for stories that were realistic, yet mainly poured the love on the newest members of the family. Here are five that do just that:

oscar's half birthday cover image 001Oscar’s Half Birthday, written and illustrated by Bob Graham
published in 2005 by Candlewick Press

This little squirt, Oscar, is six month’s old.

It’s not nearly time for his full-blown, one-year-old, birthday party. But…

The truth is, no one can wait for his whole birthday.”

Big sister Millie thinks he is SO CUTE. So do Dad and Mom.

So this awesome family is just going ahead with it and celebrating at the halfway point. Why not?! It’s a perfect day for it.

Grab a picnic lunch and a chocolate birthday cake. Pop Oscar in the stroller oscar's half birthday illustration bob graham 001and hike it on over to Bellevue Hill. Listen to all the adoring comments about the little podger as everyone nearby stops to greet him and sing the birthday song. Millie and Oscar even soak in a candlelit bath at day’s end — one last flare of half-birthday magic.

I always say this, but…I love Bob Graham’s work. This endearing book makes the commonplace, extraordinary. It makes family love feel as warm as a sunny picnic and as approachable as a tuna sandwich. Amazing, beautifully-human, pen and watercolor illustrations pull us right into the events and emotions of the day. A lovely read for ages 4 and up.

a baby sister for frances cover imageA Baby Sister for Frances, by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban
published in 1964 by HarperCollins

All the Frances stories are gems which I hope you’ve already discovered.

If by any chance you’ve missed them, A Baby Sister for Frances is a fine place to start.

Frances’ family has just welcomed new baby Gloria into their home and Frances is finding it a mite hard. Mother hasn’t had time to iron her favorite blue dress so she has to wear the yellow one. Frances prefers raisins on her oatmeal but Mother hasn’t quite got the shopping done so it’s bananas.

Feeling droopy and forgotten, Frances decides to run away.a baby sister for frances illustration lillian hoban 001

She packs her tiny special blanket, her alligator doll, a box of prunes, and five chocolate sandwich cookies, announces her departure, and runs…under the dining-room table.

From this cozy spot, Frances eavesdrops on her parents — two of the cleverest parents on the planet — and what she overhears convinces her that a) Gloria needs her and b) so do her parents. It’s a happy reunion — complete with chocolate cake.

Funny, warmhearted, true-to-life, the Frances stories are oft-quoted in our family even decades after reading them.  They work as early-readers and are terrific read-alouds. If you get the audio version narrated by Glynis Johns, you will adore her marvelous, raspy voice and cheery versions of Frances’ songs.

Ages 3 and up.

elizabeti's doll cover imageElizabeti’s Doll, by Stephanie Stuve Bodeen, illustrated by Christy Hale
published in 1998 by Lee & Low Books

On the dry savannahs under the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, Elizabeti lives with her mama and new baby brother, Obedi.

Elizabeti is utterly smitten with Obedi.

She wants so much to have her own baby to care for. So she looks for one and finds the perfect thing: a rock. Just the right heft and size and smoothness. She names it Eva.

As Mama goes through the day caring for Obedi, Elizabeti does the same with Eva, bathing, feeding, burping, changing, toting.

elizabeti's doll bodeen and hale interior

But when she has to leave her rock-baby for a moment to fetch water, Eva goes missing. There’s a bit of panic and sadness until Elizabeti finally finds that missing baby of hers, just in time to sing her a lullaby and fall asleep.

Of course, I dearly love the East African setting of this story, beautifully brought to us through Christy Hale’s illustrations. The acacia trees, kangas, metal basins, corrugated metal roofs as well as the vast plains and handsome people plant this story firmly in Tanzania.

The story itself is so sweet and universal. Perfect story for big sisters, ages 3 and up.

olly and me cover imageOlly and Me, written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes
published in 2004 by Candlewick Press

Katie is a dandy preschooler and Olly is her baby brother.

The poems and ramblings in this collection by Shirley Hughes are all written in Katie’s voice as she narrates their lovely, ordinary days together.

Snuggling in bed. Walking in a frosty winterolly and me illustration shirley hughes 001 park. Ballet class. Dad’s pancakes. This is Katie’s and Olly’s world.

Unlike the other stories on today’s list, Olly plays a decided backseat role in Katie’s activities. She, after all, is the big sister, and Olly is too little to dance properly, to venture out after dark to see fireworks, to understand about birthdays.

Yet he’s there, a wriggly, busy, beaming part of her world. Sometimes a tish cranky. Mostly a fine companion.

As always, Shirley’s inimitable paintings portray the comfy, loving, gladsome world of sturdy preschoolers, mussy homes, shaggy dogs, English parks with such grace, you feel at home right in the pages. Lots of outdoor time and creative play. Perfect for ages 2 and up.

the baby sister cover imageThe Baby Sister, written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
published in 1996 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons

This semi-autobiographical account is charming and sweet, with a dash of Italian spice!

Tommy comes from a large extended family. Apparently he has learned over the years just what he likes in a baby.

So when his mother tells him that she is going to the baby sister illustration tomie depaola 001have a new baby, Tommy promptly asks if it can please be a baby sister “with a red ribbon in her hair.”

His mother replies in Secret Parent Language: “We’ll see.”

There’s lots of work to be done, getting ready for this baby, but finally Tommy’s Italian grandmother arrives to care for him while mother and father are at the hospital. She’s the spicy part of the story!

Tommy does get a baby sister, but sadly, he isn’t allowed to visit her in the hospital because of a chicken pox epidemic. He has to wait, and wait, and wait, until mother and baby Maureen come home.

And then!! What a surprise awaits Tommy!

Warm as toast, with Tomie’s signature figures and faces that have such tremendous child-appeal. Ages 3 and up.



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Portraits of mothers, children, and foodHow big is your world?

Those of us living in the U.S., sadly, really have to work at pushing the boundaries of our world past local affairs and celebrity gossip. News headlines omit much real, often painful, news of the rest of the world. It is terribly easy to be insulated from international issues.

Most of us want better for our kids. We want the hardships of children in Syria: children speak from Zaatari refugee camp - videoSyria to matter more than who said what on Facebook. We want them to see and feel others’ needs rather than mainly their own. To dream of ways to make a difference in the world.

guatemalan child from ifad dot orgI’ve got a round-up of some titles I’ve come across that beautifully draw us in to the welfare of children around the globe. Some of these have been on my blog before, and there’s a link to my longer review of them. I’d love to hear in the comments any other great books you know of in this category.

The entire new set of titles I’ve got today comes out of Canada.  Kids Can Press in Toronto has a fantastic series called CitizenKid, accessible to early elementary and up. You can find more titles in this series at their website. Here are a few I’ve seen and recommend:

razia's ray of hope cover imageRazia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of an Education, by Elizabeth Suneby, illustrated by Suana Verelst
2013, Kids Can Press

Evocative mixed media collages accompany this story of Razia’s deep yearning to learn in school, which conflicts with the authoritative voices of her father and oldest brother. Razia’s respect for her family and culture, and her grandfather’s role in brokering a solution, honor the Afghani culture, even while the story illustrates the need for change. Discussion about how to help in this complex issue is included.

mimi's village cover imageMimi’s Village: And How Basic Health Care Transformed It, by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
2012, Kids Can Press

A rather drab title, but the content is excellent. Mimi is a young girl from a Kenyan village. She lives under a cloud of concern as neighbors’ babies die and her own little sister becomes ill by drinking untreated water. After visiting a health worker in a nearby town, Mimi lobbies her own village to raise up a small health center for themselves.

Having lived in Kenya briefly, and in West Africa, I found the depictions of life and death in these village settings authentic. An Afterword tells more about village health workers and ways you can help through a variety of non-profits engaged in basic health care.

untitledOne Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference, by Katie Smith Milway, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

Revolving loans and microfinance — not your typical subject matter for elementary students, but this story of Kojo from Ghana vividly illustrates the principles as he uses a bit of money to buy one hen, sells its eggs for profits, reinvests, and eventually achieves phenomenal success.

An Afterword gives the true account of a successful Ghanaian businessman and his Mustard Seed Trust that gives small revolving loans to tens of thousands of Ghanaians. There’s also a list of organizations who accept donations to their loan funds, and anecdotes of several small businesswomen — very often the beneficiaries of these start-up funds.

this child every child cover imageThis Child, Every Child: A Book about the World’s Children, by David J. Smith, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong
2011, Kids Can Press

David Smith is a numbers guy. Here he has sifted through scads of statistics about the quality of life of our world’s children, and presented them in orderly, clear segments for upper-elementary students and older. Family sizes, kinds of homes, health, transiency, school, gender equality, work and war…Look through about a dozen lenses to see how children around the world are faring.child labor from ragamuffinsoul dot com

Smith brings the information to life with anecdotes about specific children in far-flung locations. Meet Ling, living in the densely-crowded Aberdeen Harbour in Hong Kong — what is her home like? Or Nasir, age nine, working in a rug factory in Pakistan. What does life hold for him? Discover that “if you have access to health care, clean water, adequate food and a healthy environment, you are better off than many children in the world.” And what do we do about that?

This is challenging material, and would be best absorbed in dialogue with an adult.

if america were a village cover imageIf America Were a Village: A Book About the People of the United States, by David J. Smith, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong
2009, Kids Can Press

Though already 5 years old, the statistics in this book are cleverly presented and worth your time. Imagining the U.S. as a group of 100 people allows Smith to take percentages down to a child’s level of understanding. In a group of just 100 representative people, how many were born in Latin America? How many live in cities? What religions do they practice? What do we own? Fascinating stuff. 

A companion book If the World Were a Village was published in 2002. Though the stats are even more outdated, it’s still interesting and thought-provoking.

Here are links to a few excellent titles I’ve reviewed earlier:

A Long Walk to Water — a short novel by award-winning author Linda Sue Park about the Sudanese Lost Boys and the water needs of Sudan

Hamzat’s Journey: A Refugee Diary about a boy injured by an explosive device in Chechnya

Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth

Where Children Sleepa remarkable photojournal of children’s sleeping quarters around the world

There are many, many titles in the Cultures section of my Subject Index kenyan schoolgirls from bbc dot co dot ukwhich illumine another way of life as well.

If you have a favorite title highlighting global child welfare issues, please let us know about it via the comments.

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