~posted by Ruth
Summer gives us a great chance to pore over well-illustrated picture books and take the time to talk through elements of the world we live in. There are a wealth of picture books that can help us educate children, parents, caregivers, and teachers to be socially responsible for the worlds we inhabit. As caring adults, we can call attention to the ways in which people are different and the ways that people are the same—honoring individual and group identity.
The book Wake Up World! A Day in the Life of Children Around the World by Beatrice Holler is one I like to introduce to young children, at home and at school. It’s about the lives of children in 8 countries—Ghana, India, Russia, Brazil, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. Filled with contemporary photographs, the book shows readers Cidonha from Brazil washing herself with a bucket of water outside. In India, Shakeel’s job is feeding and milking the goats. Lihn goes to school only in the afternoon because there are not enough schools or teachers in Vietnam. Some children in the world sleep on mats on the floor—others in hammocks or in beds. From these pictures and stories, children can learn that in other countries there are kids who eat and learn and play, just as they do. But how they do those daily activities may look very different.
A wonderful companion book , published by UNICEF, is A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World. It’s based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The book shows children from around the world—putting a visual image to children’s struggles for basic rights for water, food, shelter, protection, education, and participation in society. Developing understanding and empathy for children around the world is an important first step for raising a compassionate and caring next generation.