It’s Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday!
Some of the most powerful books to share with kids are books featuring photographs of children doing everyday things around the world. There is a natural fascination to compare. What is different? What is the same? How are things done somewhere else? What does it look like? As children explore these photographs and accompanying text, the huge world seems a little bit smaller and we are happy we share it in such similar and diverse ways.
This week I came across Healthy Kids (A Global Fund for Children book) by Maya Ajmera, Victoria Dunning and Cynthia Pon (published in 2013). This book begins with a forward by Melinda French Gates reminding readers that all children have the right to be healthy .
The photographs in this book are lovely. Each full page spread features multiple photographs (each labelled by country) of children engaged in the activity described by the text. The book focuses on clean water, a healthy diet, medical and dental care and adequate exercise. A home that is clean and safe, immunizations and a hygenic place to go to the bathroom are explained as being an essential part of a healthy life.
Travel around the world and witness a young girl pumping water in India, a group of children brushing their teeth together in Tonga and children whizzing down a hill on toboggans in Greenland. Bike riding in Botswana is great exercise. In Nigeria, children sleep under mosquito nets. Children wash their hands at an outdoor sink in Guatelmala.
The last few pages of the book provide more information on each of the topics covered and also stresses that while healthy kids live all over the world, not all communities and countries have everything they need to ensure the health of their children and citizens. Some suggestions of ways to advocate for better health for children world wide are suggested.
Pair this title with other books – both fiction and nonfiction that celebrate children, their bodies, their feelings, their families, their happiness and their health. Here are just a few of my favourites:
The Best Part of Me: Children talk about their bodies in pictures and words by Wendy Ewald
A beautiful celebration of children’s thoughts and feelings about themselves shared in their writing about a part of their body. Photographs accompany each piece of writing. A beautiful line (there are many to choose from)
I like my hands because they turn the pages of a book slowly and magically. Reading makes me happy.
Shades of People by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly
In this book, people are not described by their skin colour but rather the shade they come in – creamy, coffee, copper, almond, rose, bronze, brown . . . My favourite lines:
Our skin is our covering, just like wrapping paper. And, you can’t tell what someone is like from the colour of their skin.
The Handiest Things in the World by Andrew Clements Photographs by Raquel Jarmillo
While I like the photographs more than the text in this title, it is another beautiful book full of photographs of children doing everyday things. A celebration of all the things we use to make life easier even though our hands have many things all figured out!
You and Me Together: Moms, Dads and Kids Around the World by Barbara Kerley
A wonderful collection of photos from all over the world of parents interacting with their children – doing the most natural of things – making a mess, telling a tale, taking a nap or catching a bus. Fun to guess where in the world the photograph might have been taken.
Whoever You Are written by Mem Fox illustrated by Leslie Staub
Soothing and celebratory, this is one of my favourite titles to introduce diversity and sharing the most important thing about ourselves with everyone – our humanity.
Their lives may be different from yours,
and their words may be very different from yours.
But inside, their hearts are just like yours,
whoever they are, wherever they are,
all over the world.
My original goal was 60 nonfiction picture books for 2013. Progress: 37/60 complete
Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2013!