Pin It
Thursday, November 17th, 2016

A Children’s Book for Raising Global Citizens

By

THE BAREFOOT BOOK OF CHILDREN
Written by Tessa Strickland and Kate DePalma
Illustrated by David Dean
Ages: 3-10 years

 

The world is a big, big place. Wouldn’t it be bland and boring if everything looked the same, everywhere – places, people, jobs, languages, lives. “The Barefoot Book of Children” makes it very clear that our world is a mosaic of multi-colors and multi-dimensions, and that’s what makes it beautiful and fascinating. It also stands true to the publisher’s mission to celebrate diversity and art, and comes out at a time when it’s relevance in today’s societies cannot be overstated.

 

The heavily detailed front cover and the generously encompassing title are intriguing. Inside, the dramatic images live up to the vibrant outside. The first spread that includes a portrait of our planet in a contrasting night sky backdrop sets up the “big picture” for the questions that follow. They prompt self-awareness in terms of place and context, grounding the reader before further engagement. The narrative, mostly in second person, then zooms out to things around and beyond self – our very diverse family units and social interactions every day. The book goes on to address physicality and life style diversity in children, including what they wear, play, eat, and do on a daily basis. The pattern extends to portray differences in names, languages, ways of worship, and special days. In the end, we circle back to every child’s place in this world, with a gentle nudge to introspect on one’s own story.

 

A common thread through the pages is representation of children from around the world. There are children in diverse flesh tones, sizes and clothing, engaged in a multitude of activities, each cocooned in a culturally nuanced and geographically specific setting. I cannot begin to fathom the amount of research towards this attempt. The finished work is excellent. The creators have also done it with incredible attention to detail, be it the farmhouse in Scotland or the boy reading in bed in Morocco! But what I loved most were the atypical depictions – the Russian boy ballet dancer and the Mauritian girl engineer, and the girl in a wheelchair looking into a telescope (in Australia) – because children are observant and these details matter to a formative mind.

 

When you think about the possibilities for exploration with this book and the time it might take, there’s a “closer look” segment in the end that helps. This should also come in handy in classrooms. The interactive narrative is great for discussions on varied subjects, with an ongoing theme to celebrate differences and acknowledge universality at the same time. The authors’ and illustrator’s notes are also enriching.

 

The global approach adopted in creating this book leaves us with a certain comfort level to be who we are, however differently we are perceived. There are a couple of lines that I really like, that speak to my belief in how empathy is fundamental to peace: “Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.” The book prompts young children to question, discuss, and imagine; it is sure to leave a child contented and joyous to go out and celebrate humanity. “The Barefoot Book of Children” will continue to stay on my desk, because it tells me we are actively doing something to better our world, through our children.

© 2016, Meera Sriram. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


10 Best World Maps for Your Children’s Room

Because every little global citizen needs a map

Don’t Touch My Child! Lessons from Asia

Has the West taken fear too far?

Language Resource Library for Raising Bilingual Kids

The most comprehensive list of language learning resources

Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?

Should spanking be part of your parenting toolkit to have well behaved kids?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Meera Sriram has been reviewing and recommending diverse children’s literature for about ten years now. She loves to pass on a title or an author to a friend (or a stranger, for that matter). Picture books particularly appeal to the inner child in her. She moved to the U.S. at the turn of the millennium from India. After graduate studies and a brief stint as an electrical engineer, she decided to express herself in other creative ways, primarily through writing. She has co-authored four books for children, all published in India. Her writing interests include people and cultures, nature, and life’s everyday moments. She also runs an early literacy program for toddlers and preschoolers in her neighboring communities. She lives in Berkeley, CA, with her husband and two kids. Curling up to read a good book with her children is something she looks forward to every day. She constantly fantasizes about a world with no boundaries over hot chai, to help her stay warm in foggy Northern California. More at www.meerasriram.com.

Leave us a comment!









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
For quite sometime, whenever there were articles that surfaced the internet concerning whether it was appropriate to breastfeed in public, I was so baffled. As a Mongolian, I was so shocked that som...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
For quite some whenever there was articles circulated on the internet concerning whether it is appropriate to breastfeed in public. As a Mongolian, I was so shocked that some countries considered i...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
I live with my Czech in laws with my four children and my Czech is crap I try to learn but the baby doesn't sleep well I'm a constant zombie and the brain just doesn't work. Plus being tired makes m...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
I am so glad I found this site. I am happy to see that I am not alone in experiencing 'family issues' after getting married. I am not from the West but I am married to a Canadian. I never truly unde...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
[…] my most favourite article about breastfeeding called Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan by Ruth Kamnitzer. I have no doubt that Mongolians would find our social stigmas around [R...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] sources and reasons for the rules of these countries too, such as China, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, and Hungary (see above re “Titanic”).  Has anyone got s...
From International Baby Naming Laws–Are They a Good Thing?
[…] Source Inculture Parents […...
From Lotus Lanterns for Wesak (Buddha Day)
If your nerves shat down your hormones , can you get pregnant by injecting a sperm in you to develop a baby . Please let me know...
From Baby-Making the Hindu Way
[…] Diwali Lantern from InCultureParent […...
From Diwali Craft: Make a Lantern

More Columns