What we wear can identify who we are: what team we play for or what team we root for, where we go to school, how we worship, or how we represent our heritage. What we wear expresses our individuality, and clothes can make us happy, confident, and proud. Whether it’s a piper in a tartan plaid, a cowpoke in a cowboy hat, or a novice in ceremonial face paint, children everywhere wear different clothes and accessories for different reasons. But, one thing they all have in common is that they are all unique and ...
What we wear can identify who we are: what team we play for or what team we root for, where we go to school, how we worship, or how we represent our heritage. What we wear expresses our individuality, and clothes can make us happy, confident, and proud. Whether it’s a piper in a tartan plaid, a cowpoke in a cowboy hat, or a novice in ceremonial face paint, children everywhere wear different clothes and accessories for different reasons. But, one thing they all have in common is that they are all unique and beautiful. A celebration of clothing in bright, beautiful photographs of exuberant children from around the world, WHAT WE WEAR: DRESSING UP AROUND THE WORLD inspires young readers to explore the way clothing makes them feel and how it tells the world who they are. Backmatter encourages young readers to explore the way people dress in other countries and other cultures at folk festivals, at museums, and at home by asking about their own family heritage.
Bright, uplifting photographs show children from different countries dressed in traditional clothing from each culture. Captions suggest context for the images; “Dressing up means celebrating who we are... and what we believe,” reads one. A smiling child from Papua New Guinea wears a feathered crown and necklace, while two children from Ethiopia are adorned with decorative beads and shells. Another spread shows children from Japan, the United Kingdom, the U.S., and Malawi dressed in sports uniforms. Although the book doesn’t include any specific information or details about the apparel featured, end pages suggest ways for readers to discover more about clothing worn around the world, both in the past and in the present. Ages 4–7. (Feb.)
- Ellen Welty
People all over the world use clothes and costumes for specific purposes. In the beautifully photo-illustrated work, children are depicted wearing clothes appropriate to their activity as well as to their culture. Countries that are represented include the US, Finland, Turkey, Switzerland, Japan and Ethiopia, among many others. There are clothes for special occasions, for parties, for ceremonies and for sports as well as for just having fun with friends. School and team uniforms are depicted as well as the clothes children wear when they are playing pretend. There is a nice map of the world showing where all the children in the book are from and there are suggested activities like attending a folk festival or going to a museum. Additional suggestions include looking at photographs of grandparents when they were children and discussing the reasons why there are different clothes in different times or parts of the world. Additional back matter includes a comprehensive list of photo credits. This title would be very useful in introducing different cultures to younger readers. The pictures of the children are enchanting and young readers would easily identify with the youngsters portrayed in the photographs. Reviewer: Ellen Welty
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—The simple text of this resplendent homage to our common humanity emphasizes global similarities, with one broad, feel-good statement per page, such as "Dressing up means celebrating who we are...." The narrative is accompanied by vibrant color photos of beaming children engaging in a variety of activities, from the mundane to the unique, dressed proudly in their traditional attire. Each photo is labeled with the country of origin, and a world map at the end highlights all of the nations featured. End materials include age-appropriate suggestions for further cultural exploration, feasible for both classroom and home use. This joyous follow-up to Our Grandparents (Charlesbridge, 2010) should be included in all preschool and elementary collections.—Rebecca Dash Donsky, New York Public Library
By focusing this visually stunning book on "dressing up" rather than on the broader topic of clothing, the authors enjoy the freedom of selecting striking photographs of children dressed in traditional clothing, theatrical costumes and masks and school and sports uniforms. Engaging, sharp photos, including a Chinese boy dressed as an emperor on the cover, young Nepalese Buddhist monks, a Japanese girl dressed in a beautiful kimono and Israeli Hasidic boys inexplicably wearing red fezzes, appear on boldly colored backgrounds. The lack of contextualizing material begs questions: Are the Israeli boys dressed up for Purim, a Jewish holiday when everyone wears costumes? The Japanese girl is probably dressed for Shichi-go-san, a holiday when 3- and 7-year-old Japanese girls and 5-year-old Japanese boys dress in traditional clothing, but the text (limited to very general short sentences such as: "Around the world, we dress up to have fun! We dance and play…" and "Dressing up means celebrating who we are…") doesn't reveal any supporting information. Country names appear on the photos, and there is a world map. The backmatter suggests going to folk festivals and museums, questioning adults about clothing and culture and making simple costumes and masks. Creative teachers, librarians and parents will be able to use this book to start a number of different conversations, but descriptions of the clothing and their special meanings (if only for adult users) would greatly increase this book's value. (Informational photo essay. 4-7)
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. Elise Hofer Derstine is a writer and farmer. She lives in Goshen, Indiana. Cynthia Pon worked for many years as the director of Global Fund for Children Books and is the co-author of several books, including FAITH, CHILDREN OF THE U.S.A., and others.