Posts tagged: school

Kindergarten Day USA and China (Trish Marx & Ellen B. Senisi) – Book Recommendation

By , January 6, 2011 10:17 am

One thing I enjoy about having a blog is being “discovered” by a publisher whose books really fit my style and interests.  For me, the Global Fund for Children is just that publisher.  Their books are all about diversity and respect for other cultures and people.  I am always delighted and honored to be asked to review one, and pleased to be able to recommend a really worthwhile book.  When the review copy arrives at my house we all pounce upon it eagerly!

The latest treat we received from the Global Fund for Children is Kindergarten Day USA and China by Trish Marx and Ellen B. Senisi.  The premise of the book is basic:  simple text from a child’s point of view and lots of big, colorful photos track a typical kindergarten day in the United States and in China.

First of all, we love the way the book is cleverly set up as a flip book.  One half is the Schenectady, New York class but when you finish that section you close the book and flip it around to read about the Beijing children’s day in the other half.  We also liked that each page has a clock that shows both the time in Schenectady and the time in Beijing.  This gives a real-time sense of what is going on for the children in each country.  Finally, we enjoyed the fact that the China section has some Chinese words sprinkled throughout and briefly explains pinyin, encouraging young readers to try to pronounce the Chinese words.

The authors successfully create a connection between the two classrooms on different sides of the globe through parallel activities.  Each class has a birthday celebration.  There is a slight conflict (being too loud, not sharing toys) that will be familiar to all children wherever they live.  We see both classes eat lunch and have outdoor recess.  Children in each class interact with their friends and work on reading.  And at the end of the sections, both classes mention thinking about the other class and wonder if the other class thinks about them too.

Children will see that although there are some interesting differences in life in the other country (for example we see the American children served lunch in a cafeteria, whereas the Chinese teacher prepares lunch for the children and it is eaten in the classroom with chopsticks), there are actually far more similarities.  Children in both countries laugh and cry.  All the children enjoy friends, playtime, drawing and reading.

My kids (ages 5, 8, and 10) are fascinated by Kindergarten Day and have read it through several times, even the older two.  I really like how the Global Fund for Children’s multicultural books take advantage of childrens’ natural curiosity about other children to teach the important lesson that although we might be different in some minor ways, people are basically the same wherever they live.  If every human could learn this basic truth at a young age, and develop a sense of curiosity about other countries and cultures, wouldn’t the world be a much happier and more harmonious place!

Kudos (yet again!) to the Global Fund for Children for helping to promote international awareness and understanding among children.

Kindergarten Day USA and China is available either directly from Global Fund for Children (hardcover or paperback), or Amazon (also in hardcover or Kindergarten Day USA and China (Global Fund for Children Books (Paperback)).

My other Global Fund for Children recommendations:

Global Babies

Nasreen’s Secret School

The Rapture

By , September 4, 2007 10:14 am

This morning I opened my eyes to heavenly music, choirs of angels, and a feeling of my soul being lifted out of my body toward paradise above! My bedroom was even illuminated with a warm, golden glow. Was I on drugs? Did I die in my sleep? Was it The Rapture? No. It was THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!!

My second-grade daughter started school two weeks ago, which left my kindergarten son home alone with the baby and me. I wish I could say that he spent his days engaging in quality, unplugged learning activities such as practicing his readers, building architectural masterpieces out of his blocks, running wild outside observing nature.

In fact, most of his time was spent rolling around in the middle of the living room floor with a bungee cord, getting up every now and then to tie certain oddly assorted objects together. Despite my repeated suggestions of fun things to do (mostly involving being in a place other than right in the middle of the living room floor), he preferred to just lie around with his bungee cord.

What is it with boys and tying things up anyhow? Is it just my son whose favorite toys are bungee cords, string, jump ropes, and dog leashes? Should I worry about what this means for his future? I suspect he is actually just being that mysterious creature that we call “a boy.”

As fascinating as it is to watch a 5 year-old lie around on the living room floor for two weeks, I have to make that dreadful confession: HOORAY FOR SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! My hat is off to all you homeschool parents out there, and I know that there are a lot of you. How on Earth do you do it?

As a punishment for publicly outing myself as a Bad Mom, the baby has decided to spoil the tranquil day I had planned, by being in her very worst mood ever. Oh well. That will teach me to be honest in the future, won’t it!

Painting by Peter Paul Rubens, “The Exchange of Princesses(c. 1622-1625) from the Marie de Medici Cycle. Louvre, Paris. From Wikimedia Commons.

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