All over the world, students go to school. How are these schools the same as yours? How are they different?
Children's LiteratureThis short but informative book presents school culture so that it can be understood by a first grade child. Unlike so many books about life in other countries, this one does not exoticize the subject matter. A pattern of text with photographs emphasizes universal experiences while acknowledging differences. For example, the text notes that students throughout the world take lunch breaks, while the accompanying photo shows a diverse group of Australian girls in school uniforms sipping juice. This shows that while students in some places wear uniforms or attend single-gender schools, school children all over the world attend classes and break for lunch. Another example shows recess in a Malawi school; the children are barefoot, but recess and jumping rope are universal. Not all of the differences are cultural, and some of the photographs dispel cultural stereotypes. For example, the child in the photo from the U.S. appears to be of Indian origin. Each page also features an inset world map in which the country shown in the photo is named and placed. The country is also named in the text. The only exception to this rule is the discussion of African countries. These are named on the map, but not in the text. The text refers simply to “Africa,” as if it were a single country. (This is the one flaw in this book. ) The U.S. is included as simply one example of a culture. Another of the book’s strengths is that it is formatted like a standard reference book. It is one in the “Life around the World” series, which contain chapters, a table of contents, a glossary, a reference list that includes safe web sites, and an index. Although designed for first grade students, these books can be used inthe classroom to introduce the use of reference books. Reviewer: Christina M. Desai
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