One of the best things that's happened to me since I started writing this blog is that I've become connected with a group of Multicultural Kid Bloggers. The (mostly) moms who write these blogs hail from all around the globe. They're raising their kiddos to be global citizens, by cultivating multilingualism, educating them on different cultures, traveling to faraway places, exploring societies through crafts and books, and generally making connections between their families and others around the world. I love that there are so many families who recognize the importance of giving their kids an inclusive worldview, and I'm thrilled to be a part of this community myself.
And in becoming connected with these bloggers, I've started thinking more about global citizenship in kidlit. The wonderful thing is that there are so many titles that adopt this perspective now, much more than there were when I was a child and more even then there were 10-15 years ago. It doesn't take much digging to find some excellent books on customs and cultures, food and languages, holidays and dress and the daily life of people all around the world. (Check out our Pinterest board for just a few great titles!)
Today's books are unique in sense that they literally help kids understand the interconnections between different parts of the world. The first title in our list, Willa Perlman's Good Night, World, will get kids thinking about the way night comes to each of us, in our turn, around the globe. This is a soft, quiet title, perfect for the hush of bedtime reading. Beginning with a young child heading to bed, the focus extends outward, to the other planets, to the rest of the earth, to the various aspects of nature, to people far and near. The artwork by Carolyn Fisher is breathtaking as well; kids are sure to enjoy the interplay of color and texture, light and shadow. My favorite line? "Elsewhere in the world it's light. It's morning there, but here it's night." That bit provides the perfect opportunity for us to talk with Sprout about his family in Ethiopia, and helps reinforce the idea that as he is going to sleep, they are preparing for their day.
On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer is subtitled "A tour of the world's weather", but it's so much more than that. As the title suggests, Singer examines various areas in the world, and not only what the weather is like there, but also how people there are going about their day. Singer manages to capture in a few lines not only the spirit of a place -- Parisians sipping chocolat, for instance, or a family preparing for a storm in Australia -- but also the connections between disparate locales. While it may be raining in two different places, one is cause for celebration and one for delaying a trip, depending on the season in each location. There's a lot to look at and think about in this one, and talking about the weather leads to many more topics, like the way people live in various parts of the world. An author note at the back also does a great job of explaining how seasons come about - an added bonus for teachers.
Kids love interactive books. The lift-the-flap title While You Are Sleeping by Durga Bernhard is an excellent choice for introducing the concept of time around the world to even the youngest kiddos. With simple text, the book begins with a Native Alaskan family reading at night, while in Nigeria, when we lift the flap, we see someone else getting dressed. From Nigeria we move to Japan, and on and on, reinforcing the idea that when it's one time where you are, around the world someone else is moving through a different part of their day. Visually this is just terrific, with each new scene depicted in an inset against a larger map showing the location. Since Sprout's a map guy (he has a big world map on the wall in his room and loves to just look at it), he was especially taken with the back endpaper, a global look at timezones that is colorful and intriguing. This creative and diverse title is an excellent addition to any classroom or library shelf. Don't miss it!
What are your favorite titles for building global citizenship? And how do you help your kiddos make the connection between themselves and the world around them?