book review

What If the World Were a Village ?

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We are busy as bees over here getting ready for our 2nd Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 27th 2015. We hope you’ll join us along with our 17 sponsors, 9 co- hosts, 150+ bloggers and many author sponsors to celebrate those books that celebrate multiculturalism and diversity. Please check out the excitement here and “save the date” for our huge Twitter party with oodles of prizes on 1/27/15 (9:00-10:00 ET)


Author David J. Smith and I are kindred spirits.  Both of us promote “world mindedness.”

He says,” This book is about “world-mindedness,” which is an attitude, an approach to life. It is the sense that our planet is actually a village, and we share this small, precious village with our neighbors. Knowing who our neighbors are, where they live and how they live, will help us live in peace.”

In his book If the World Were a Village, he explores the idea of exploring the world as if it were a village. At this time there are nearly 7 billion people on the planet. It’s oftentimes hard to wrap around our brain around this idea. David J. Smith brings it down to size for us. What if we took 100 people from around the world and look at the world as if it is a village.

If the World Were a Village

In this village of 100 people there would be 21 people who speak Chinese, 10 who ear only a dollar a day, 13 who cannot read or write, 28 who have a television in their homes, only 37 would have enough to eat. 83 people would have access to clean water while 17 others would spend most of every day in the search for clean water.


If the World Were A Village shows us who we are, where we live, what languages we speak, how fast we’re growing, and what religions we practice. This well thought out book also asks, “What will our village look like in the future?” Will there be enough food, housing, jobs, money, electricity, water etc.

What if the Wolrd were a village

One of the things I like so much about this book is that it takes a very large concept such as world population and how that effects the planet and the people on it, and brings it down to a very manageable size. The illustrations by Shelagh Armstrong are bold and colorful bringing the diversity on this planet richly to life.

Something to Do

Let’s Map the World

It’s important that kids have a really good sense of how the world is laid out. Make sure you have a current and up to date world wall map hanging up.

One really great way to learn the world is to create it. I’m a huge fan of Mr. Nussbaum. He has this wonderful website and this really great activity called Super Map. Super Map is a new map-making tool on that allows students to custom-make their own maps of the United States, North America, South America, Europe, Africa, or Asia. Students can create map keys, add state or country names, rotate names, change colors of oceans, continents, nations, or states, add longitude or latitude lines, zoom in or out, and add text about each nation or state that appears on the map when it is printed out. Works on touchscreens as well as traditional computers. And then…you get to print it out!

Super map

Can you name ?

Playing a roving game of Can you Name helps kids learn and experience the “details” of a region or country of the world.

  • Can you name the capitals of every state in the US?
  • Can you name the capitals of every country in the world ?
  • Can you name the continents ?
  • Can you name the biomes in the United States ? In your country ? Around the world ?
  • Can you name the language spoken in ( pick a country and/or a region )
  • Can you name the religions worshipped in a particular country ?
  • Can you name the form of government ?

What’s next to ?

This is a game where one player chooses a country in the world and the person next to them has to name a country next to that one.

Is there Enough ?

Have a conversation with your children while looking at a map and you might like a computer near by so you can search. Pointing to an area of the world ask the following questions. If you don’t the answer to these, look them up.

  • Is there enough food ?
  • Is there enough clean water ?
  • Do children go to school ? What are the requirements for going to school. Many 3rd world countries require that you have a uniform to go to school. Most people are too poor to afford one and so their children do not go to school.

Meet Your World

As important as it is to know how the planet is laid out by countries, capitals, people , religions, languages etc, it’s also equally important to meet different people from a variety of people on our planet. Go to a celebration from another culture near you.

Finding a pen-pal with someone from another country is another way to make a connection with someone else on the planet.

Another way to meet your world is through literature. Multicultural Children’s Books Day is such a celebration which has created a vast resource of multicultural books and authors on our website.

Multicultural Children Book Resources

Understanding the geography of the earth, how and where the people on the planet live,  what languages they speak, what religion they believe in, what challenges they face is a starting point into knowing our world better and for teaching our children “world mindedness.”

My Gift to YOU!

Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of my Read Your World Multicultural Booklists and Activities for Kids.

Read Your World Multicultural Booklist and Activities for Kids

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