Be My Neighbor


Around the world, children live in community with others, sharing homes, resources, and experiences with their neighbors. This book celebrates what it means to be a neighbor the whole world over — from Vietnam to the United States, Austria to Kenya and everywhere in between.

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Around the world, children live in community with others, sharing homes, resources, and experiences with their neighbors. This book celebrates what it means to be a neighbor the whole world over — from Vietnam to the United States, Austria to Kenya and everywhere in between.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This photo essay is inspired by the signature song and insights of the late Fred Rogers, who observes in the introduction that "as unique as each one of us is, we are much more the same than we are different." Ivanko's genial, documentary photos reinforce Rogers's words with images of children in every sphere of their life: school, play, home, the community, places of worship, the marketplace and special celebrations. Throughout the pages, the photographs achieve a balance between the geographically idiosyncratic (the orange, sculpted-looking homes of Mali, the open-air buses of Thailand) and scenes that will seem very close to the lives of American readers (a farmer's market in France, various playgrounds around the world), so the exotic and familiar (in keeping with Rogers's opening remarks) seem connected to one another. The text, however, is problematic. Ajmera's (Extraordinary Girls) prose, while aping the reassuring simplicity of Rogers's legendary monologues, unfortunately comes off as stilted and somewhat didactic: "People who live in the same neighborhood often work together to make it a better place There are also people in your neighborhood whose job it is to take care of you: doctors, police officers, firefighters, and mail carriers, for example." There's little to draw children in or get them thinking, despite the provocative pictures. Ultimately the volume offers little more than a travelogue. Ages 4-9. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This book develops the idea of a global neighborhood by using pictures from all over the world to illustrate quotes from Fred Rogers of "Won't you be my neighbor?" fame. Fred Rogers's genuine warmth, sincerity, and love for children do not quite make it into the text, which simply expands the major idea of the Rogers quotation that heads each spread. However, the beautiful pictures could easily be a springboard for discussion in a classroom or family about what makes a neighborhood, who is your neighbor, and how do you become a good neighbor. The world map at the end of the book invites each reader to "Be my neighbor—wherever you live." This praiseworthy attempt to increase the awareness of children that they are part of a global community is sponsored by Shakti for Children; a portion of the proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to the Global Fund for Children to support community-based educational programs around the world. 2004, Charlesbridge, Ages 5 to 8.
—Elisabeth Greenberg
Kirkus Reviews
A visually enticing tribute to diversity and the number of bonds that unite us in a common humanity. This works like a primer in cultural geography, introducing young readers to locales as disparate as Togo and Brunei. Ajmera and Ivanko have gathered crisp, evocative photographs, with up to a dozen scattered across the two-page spreads, illustrating architecture and food, rituals and ceremonies, play and work. A note of the locale accompanies each of the photographs and a handy, colorfully appealing map helps readers situate where on the globe these shots were taken. The text-though well-intended and emphasizing both the cradling pleasures and the distinctiveness of each community-couldn't be flatter if it were Kansas: "Schools are important because they help you learn and become more helpful to your community." But what this lacks in bounce, it makes up for in an unequivocal broadside against xenophobia. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570916854
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 417,516
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.11 (w) x 8.51 (h) x 0.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Maya Ajmera is the founder of The Global Fund for Children. She is the co-author of several Global Fund for Children books, including FAITH, GLOBAL BABIES, CHILDREN OF THE U.S.A., and CHILDREN FROM AUSTRALIA TO ZIMBABWE. John D. Ivanko is an award-winning photographer and author, writer, national speaker, and conservationist.

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