Book Review On Classroom Globalization
“The world is getting smaller.” You may have heard that expression quite a few times, especially when referring to business relationships across the globe. The fact is, for businesses to survive, they must be able to be competitive and maintain connections with other businesses worldwide. Similarly, in the classroom setting, for students to be able to learn well and become flexible, rounded, functional members of society, they must be able to understand and appreciate other cultures, their practices and way of life.
This paper ‘makes the classroom smaller” by way of 10 children’s books, which elucidate, entertain and educate readers about cultural practices, adversities and triumphs of individuals in different parts of the world.
Little Feet Big Steps
Illustrator: Ashleigh Hayflich
Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform
The Story is about an 8 year old girl whose attraction to bright colors and level of curiosity led her to undertake a tremendous feat. Particularly at age 9, children begin to subordinate their own interests to the purpose of a group. This ties in perfectly with what Gabby does in this book. Her curiosity was sparked out of interest, and she mobilizes her efforts into participating in and getting the support of her community in the AIDS walk. This book has great social-moral value. AIDS is a very serious, yet sensitive matter. The thought of the virus being incurable would cause many to avoid mere discussions around the topic, much less actively participating in a walk to support its cause. By performing this act, Gabby has become a role model at the tender age of 8. Her actions are an encouragement for future acts of selflessness and displays of leadership.
Extension Activity: Instructions: Create an eye-catching flyer advertising that you will be hosting a tag drive in aid of the children’s ward at your neighborhood hospital. State what steps you would take to get the activity done, including persons you would go to for help and advice.
2. Little Things Make Big Differences - A story About Malaria
Illustrator: Mark Schroder
Publisher: Concordia Publishing House
Eleven year old Rehema speaks from experience about Malaria. She was able to survive the disease because her parents were able to seek medical assistance for her. Thousands more in her home of Tanzania were not as fortunate as the mortality rate for the disease is very high killing millions every year. In Africa, 75 percent of those killed by the disease are children. This book promotes a sense of helpfulness and selflessness in especially young children. Rehema appeals to other children, particularly in the United States to play a part in spreading Malaria awareness and ways to avoid contracting and spreading the disease.
Appropriateness: This story is age appropriate especially for children ages 4 and older. Their cognitive development, attention span, and ability to show empathy are apparent and active. Within this age range, children are very self-aware and work well with adult guidance as they desire to please such adults.
Extension Activity: Pretend you are Rehema. Write a speech of at least 15 lines convincing other children about why they should support children with Malaria. Present your speech to the class.
3. Ithemba Means Hope
Illustrator: Phillippa Lugg
Publisher: Shuter & Shooter
Themba, the 11 year old narrator in this book, is best friends with Philisiwe. Philisiwe has been diagnosed with AIDS and Themba accompanies her and her mother to the clinic where they are given advice and information by Sister Gabela, the AIDS counsellor. This story gives visual appeal as the explanations of the AIDS virus are depicted pictorially for ease of comprehension. Children who read this book should benefit as they learn about what the characteristics of true friendship are. They also learn not to discriminate against persons living with HIV/AIDS but instead learn as much as they can about the disease in order to show support for the cause. This metaphor-filled story contains various comparisons and parallels as it aims to elucidate particular details about the AIDS virus. Such metaphors make it appropriate for young children (from 6 years) and teens. The parallel formed between the virus and a war piques interest and certainly clarifies the disease, particularly how it attacks the body’s immune system. The picture explanations presented will appeal to a younger audience, as literal explanations may or may not be totally understood by this group of children. A thorough understanding of this book will stimulate children’s intellect, widen their knowledge base and create awareness into the realities that persons living with HIV/AIDS face.
Extension Activity: You are Philisiwe. Explain how you felt when you just found out you have AIDS and compare it to how you feel now after seeing Gabela on a regular basis. Include the importance of the support of friends and family.
4. Rachel and the Lion
Illustrator: Megan Stringfellow
Publisher: Story House Books
Seven year old Rachel lives in a small African town hit by the dreaded Malaria. She, herself, is sick but loses her mother at the hands of the disease. Even though she has strong family support, it is the bond she creates with The Lion that helps her cope the most. The Lion is gentle in his corrective words towards Rachel, while teaching her valuable lessons about grief, conflict and truth. This book is attention grabbing and will spark curiosity in young readers especially for the reason that there is this child, about their age, making friends with a lion! This will lead them to emulate the word use, the way of thinking, actions and lessons portrayed in the story. From a more abstract point of view, The Lion symbolizes finding comfort at the strangest times or at times when one would think it is impossible to do so. He signifies Brenda’s inner strength and perseverance that she, herself may not have known existed within her. Older readers between the ages of 13 to 15 would readily identify with this symbolism; while younger readers, with guidance, can be made to develop that way of thinking.
Extension Activity: Think about The Lion for about 3 minutes. Then write down what other meaning or significance he could have in the story other than a literal lion.
5. Brenda Has a Dragon in her Blood
Illustrator: Diny van de Lustgraaf
Publisher: Garamond Publishers
Brenda, a young Rwandan girl with AIDS is faced with a small dilemma. She contracted the virus from her mother who has since passed away and now lives with her foster mother. The bigger issue is when a second monster, prejudice, rears its ugly head; and on the school playground at that. The children around her will not play with her as they fear that they will contract AIDS that way. Brenda’s foster mom takes on the task of encouraging the children to learn more about the virus and to accept infected children as normal persons who need others to play with.
Extension activity: Think of how Brenda must feel: she has AIDS and now the other children won’t play with her. Draw a picture representation of “prejudice” and “AIDS” as two monsters in the school playground. Then explain how you would rid the playground of them.
6. What Does It Mean To Be Global
Illustrator: Chris Hill
Publisher: Little Pickle Press
In order to appreciate differences in language, traditions and culture, a group of children is brought to visit the pyramids, eat sushi, celebrate Kwanzaa and learn to say “hello” in Swahili. Curious minds will want to know more about other cultural traditions from reading this book. From about age 3 up to 8, children have the capacity to learn a new language because they are able to retain between 1500 and 6000 words, show interest in other individuals’ lifestyles and activities.
Extension Activity: Instruction: Think back to the first time you visited certain place, had a particular meal, started learning a new language or met someone from a different country. In at least 150 words, describe that experience.
7. Ryan and Jimmy: And the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together
Illustrator: Ben Lobko
Publisher: Kids Can Press
How far does an allowance for doing chores around the house go? In 6 year old Ryan Hreljac’s case, it is getting international recognition for his efforts to build a well in his community. The support he receives for this cause is overwhelming and after the well is built, a young orphan named Akana thanks Ryan personally for supplying safe, clean water for the village. They become best friends and embark on an adventurous journey together. The cover of this book does well in its appeal to young readers because the actual photo illustration with children who appear to be from different backgrounds.
Readers will be spurred on by Ryan’s act of leadership and desire to be like him.
Extension Activity: Put yourself in Akana’s place, list some other ways that you could show appreciation and gratitude for what Ryan did. Also, make a model of the well that was built by Ryan.
8. Saving the Baghdad Zoo: A True Story of Hope and Heroes
Illustrator: Major William Sumner
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
After the war in Iraq in 2003, the Baghdad zoo was devastated, leaving its occupants in need of a proper home. Hundreds of animals were missing and those remaining were in need of medical attention. U.S Army Captain, William Sumner along with zoologists, veterinarians, conservationists and general animal lovers, worked long and hard to save the animals. This book of hope has an emotional appeal. Children ages 6 and up will be especially affected by this story as their attraction to animals or pets is heightened at this level. The assigning of names to the animals adds a more personal touch and children will feel especially connected to the animals in the story.
Extension Activity: Draw a picture of your pet. If you do not have a pet draw your favorite animal and list the things you would do to take care of that animal or to make sure it is happy.
9. This Child, Every Child: a Book about the World's Children
Illustrator: Shelagh Armstrong
Publisher: Kids Can Press
It is said that the world’s population of children is over 2.2 billion. Using statistics and stories, this book gives insight into the lifestyles, customs, opportunities and hardships of children over the globe. This is fitting for children as young as 4 years old as their attention span allows them to pay attention to stories being read to them. The story also does well to create an appreciation for and curiosity about other children and their experiences. Readers will be able to empathize, sympathize and depending on their situation, appreciate more what they currently have access to.
10. Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World
Illustrator: G. Brian Karas
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Who knew that losing a tooth could be so much fun! From stashing it under a pillow for the tooth fairy, to dropping it in a mouse hole, and flinging it at the sun, to throwing it on the roof! All these traditions combine to form the perfect humor package, while learning about another country’s tooth tradition. This book is excellent for children between 6 and 9 years old since they usually change teeth during this age group and can relate to the experience. At this stage they are also able to appreciate activities and experiences of others.
Extension Activity: Instruction: Create your own tooth tradition, give it a name.
Schlueter-Ross, Paula “New Children’s Books Links Lutherans to Malaria Initiative” The Lutheran Church, 22 October 2010. 30 March 2015 http://blogs.lcms.org/2010/new-childrens-book-links-lutherans-to-malaria-initiative
http://www.christianbookstore.net/rachel-and-the-lion-by-stephanie-lainez/catalog-4265777/. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
“Effects of Abuse & Neglect: A Focus on Typical Development” Wisconsin Child Welfare Training System. Retrieved 01 April 2015. http://wcwpds.wisc.edu/childdevelopment/resources/CompleteDevelopmentDetails.pdf
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