happy earth day: If the World were a village

April 22, 2011

I've been working on a project for a friend that involves finding children's books that deal with the issue of poverty. As I've been searching, I came across this book. I thought it was appropriate to share on Earth Day.

If the World Were a Village - 2nd Edition: A Book about the World's People (CitizenKid)

If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World's People by David J. Smith, Illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong

The inside jacket says this, "At this moment, there are more than 6 billion people on the planet! It's hard to picture so many people at one time--but what if we imagine the whole world as a village of just 100 people?

In this village:

22 people speak a Chinese dialect

20 earn less than a dollar a day

17 cannot read or write

60 are alway hungry

24 have a television in their homes"

That sort of sums up what you can expect to find in this book. Each spread details an aspect of our world "village" such as nationalities, languages, ages, religions, food, air, water, schooling and literacy, money and possessions, and electricity.

It's a great reference book for older children, but it isn't really something I would read with Juliet at this age (4).

However, I really liked a section in the back that talks about "Teaching children about the global village." It had several helpful suggestions for parents and teachers that I could go ahead and incorporate with my daughter even at her young age.

The author describes "world-mindedness" as an approach to life or attitude where we look at the people we share our world with as our neighbors--ones who inhabit the same village as we do. Knowing things about our neighbors such as who they are and where and how they live is an important aspect in helping us all live together in peace.

To me, this is very important. I especially want to teach Juliet to look on everyone no matter what color their skin, what language they speak, or where they live as her neighbor. I want her to love, respect, and appreciate different cultures and people and to enjoy and experience all the beautiful things our world has to offer.

Here are some ideas he suggests for promoting this sense of world-mindedness with your children. (You will probably see things on this list that you are already doing!)

Make sure children have a map of the world in their heads.
Hang an up-to-date world map on the wall, provide access to an up-to-date globe, and/or have an atlas on hand so that you can easily refer to it to find places you read about, locate where friends or relatives live or travel to, and places you hear about in the news.

Play geography games.
We enjoy the LeapFrog Tag Maps: World. There are games, music, and language activities geared at preschoolers, but I enjoy playing as well.

Ask questions all the time.
For example:
Where is that?
Where do they live?
What language do they speak?
What's it like there?

Get your children interacting with people from other countries.
Develop a relationship with a child through an organization such as Compassion International.
Check out sister cities.
Pen pals.

Model neighborly-ness.
Look out for other people. Get involved in community service. Show that being a part of a team is important and valuable.

Encourage Passion.
Let your children see your love for maps, travel, and languages. Help them follow their own interests and develop their own passions in the things they love.

What would you add to the list?

2 comments:

Jane said...

I love this list-- you've given me lots of great ideas! The Leapfrog game looks like a lot of fun. Happy Earth Day.

Peaceful Reader said...

I love this book. It does such a great job of making the world understandable.

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