In June, the book Give Your Child the World by Jamie Martin, was released. It is a fantastic resource for finding books for children about cultures and different areas of the world. It is essentially a field guide to travel the world through reading! I appreciate that the suggested books are divided by world region and age-level, with a brief summary of content.
Hand in hand with the book release, there has also been an online Summer Reading Challenge by Jamie Martin (at Simplehomeschool.net) and Sarah Mackenzie (at Amonstlovelythings.com and Read-Aloud Revival). The challenge was to read one book a week, each from a different region of the world. That was it. Easy peasy. Of course, anyone could do more, pairing the books with different culture activities (foods, educational videos, etc).
As I’m always one for reading challenges, and reading a variety of quality children’s books to my kids, we jumped on board! We found some wonderful books through Give Your Child the World. The summer challenge got us motivated to find these books at the library right away instead of letting this resource just sit on our shelf.
One week we read Adele & Simon (France). Another week Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia. And most recently, Tacky the Penguin (Antarctica). These books in particular have become favorites of mine (and Plum’s). Each week I looked up which books our library had and called ahead to put them on hold. Since we cannot leave the library without a huge stack of books, we didn’t limit ourselves to just one book per region. We read and reread many delightful books this summer! (Who knows? Maybe this will become a new summer tradition!)
In the midst of this, I thought about the children’s picture map Plum had received for her birthday. We hadn’t used it much, as it wasn’t hanging up on a wall yet (We are reordering the rooms in our house, and haven’t put up wall decorations in some rooms because of this). Unrolling the map during Little Bear’s nap, Plum and I came up with games with her little dollhouse people to travel the world. I introduced her to different countries in a very conversational way as we played.
“Look! This is Japan. Your aunt is from Japan. She will be flying there to visit soon!”
“See the ice and snow here? It is very cold in Antarctica.”
We sent her little people on trips on the map and discussed the climate. I pointed out places that were from the books we read or people we knew who lived there. It was all happily unplanned. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to do geography lessons with a three-year-old, but we both enjoyed the game. Plum has since asked many times to play with her map. And she’s even incorporating her new knowledge into her pretend play. “Bye! I’m taking a trip to South America! See you soon!”
There’s never an age too young to teach respect for the beauty of the world God created, and the beauty of the differences of the created people who live in it.