Sunday, August 24, 2008

Children from Australia to Zimbabwe: A Photographic Journey Around the World

Note: Starting today, and for the rest of the week, I'm going to be sharing a variety of nonfiction children's books that would make excellent classroom resources. All of the books, aside from today's selection, have been published this year.

Now, with today's selection:

Children from Australia to Zimbabwe: A Photographic Journey Around the World by Maya Ajmera and Anna Rhesa Versola

Even though this book has been around for a while, it's chock full of learning opportunities for children. Brought to us by The Global Fund for Children, the book introduces children to 25 countries around the world and one imaginary land, Xanadu. Starting with Australia, the book presents a different country for each letter of the alphabet. For each country, children can read fun and interesting facts, information about the children in the country, and even how to say and pronounce that country's world for hello. In addition to the narrative about the country, each spread also contains a section that lists the country's flag, capital, languages spoken, population, number of children, favorite sports, an environmental fact, and names of other countries that begin with the same letter. Each spread also includes a map of the country, showing where it is in the world along with its neighbors.

In addition to all of the information you can learn, each spread includes beautiful full-color photographs of children in that particular country. For example, in the Philippines spread, we see smiling children on the beach covered in black sand, girls dancing to the music of gongs and bamboo flutes, boys playing basketball, and a young girl weaving colorful fabric on a loom.

The information in the book is well-organized and presented in an easy-to-read, conversational tone. Unlike similar books in this genre, kids are not overwhelmed with facts. In fact, the authors selected information that really appeals to children.

Most importantly, the book introduces children to diverse cultures and demonstrates the similarities among children regardless of where they're from, what they look like, and what language they speak.

This would make an excellent addition to any home, school, or classroom library.

Research Project Ideas:
Have children create their own alphabet books featuring countries from the "other countries" list on each page. For a classroom book, assign a different country to each child, each one being responsible for creating a spread for the book. For teachers with the resources and access to a computer lab, you could even create a template with something as simple as Microsoft Word and have students drop in their own information. Children could even take home their own copies of the book if resources allow.

  • Assign children to create posters for their assigned country
  • For language arts, have children write a short article or essay about their assigned country
  • For the creative types, children can write a story or create a piece of art representing their assigned country
  • If children know someone who is from their assigned country, they could even conduct an interview with that person
  • Invite community members who are from the countries you're covering to come speak to the class

More information about the book:
  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; 2 Revised edition (July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570914788
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570914782
  • Source: Review copy from The Global Fund for Children

Learn more about The Global Fund for Children!

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