School Days Around the World is a nonfiction book that puts into perspective the diverse educational experiences of students all around the globe. Author Margriet Ruurs introduces 14 students from countries including Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Germany and Canada. Young readers will learn about a typical school day experienced by other students and understand the importance of cultural context. This picture book includes lively illustrations by Alice Feagan that encourage discussion of culture, curriculum and a deeper appreciation for education.
The Way To School by Rosemary McCarney captures beautiful real life images of children from various countries on their journey to school every day. The book’s captivating photography of the difficulty of these journeys could inspire students to appreciate and value their own education.
Both books are appropriate for grades 1-6. Primary students might relate more to School Days Around the World because of its illustrations. Junior students, however, may be intrigued by the photography in The Way to School, sparking an interest in other cultures.
Although they could be used together, it would be beneficial to tie in specific expectations from the Ontario curriculum to each book separately. The Ontario Social Studies program, for example, emphasizes community partners. School Days Around the World can encourage students to get involved in the global community. Specific curriculum connections to The Way to School can be found in the Social Studies document for grade 2, Heritage and Identity unit. Students can use comparative methods such as Venn diagrams to compare communities around the world to their own, or practise their mapping skills by locating the various countries in both books on a globe or map.
School Days Around the World is very informative and useful in the classroom. The Way to School sends a powerful message to students, although it lacks some detail.
Sonia Assi is a member of the Grand Erie Occasional Teacher Local.