Thursday, November 4, 2010

To Be a Kid

To Be a Kid by Maya Ajmera and John D. Ivanko
            Picture Book—Multicultural
            Grades PreK-3
            Rating: 5 Stars
            Summary: This photo picture book shows that kids from all over the world do the same things—they play, care for animals, spend time with family, and all of the things that make them a kid.

            To Be a Kid made such a powerful statement to me as an adult that I can only imagine how eye-opening it would be for children. In our society, it is often easy to view the world through the lenses of our own experience, but this book truly enlightens its readers to the experiences of people throughout the globe. However, its focus is not on what makes us different, but on all of the ways that kids around the world are alike through the similar games they play and how they interact with family and friends each day. I love that this book shows that we are all the same, no matter what skin color or race that we are, where we live, or what language we speak. I feel like our society damages this message by emphasizing how these things make us different, and so this book is so refreshing in that it sends the opposite message.
            This book contains such a significant message that is crucial for students today to understand. I think that as a child, I often viewed people from around the world as so different that they were not relatable to me. I hope to inspire exactly the opposite in the minds of my students, and this book would definitely help to illuminate the fact that kids from other parts of the world are no different than they are. By recognizing the similarities between themselves and kids from other countries, students might “acquire a sense of acceptance and appreciation for others,” rather than simply viewing these children as different (Hillard, 1995, p. 728).  Overall, I feel that this is an important message of multicultural literature, but it is often hindered by the sense that children should learn about other cultures and how they are different, instead of what makes us all the same as humans. I think it would be neat to follow up this book with a pen pal program so that my students could write to an international pen pal and further come to understand how they are alike as kids. 

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