BOOKS

Cover of It's Our Nature
It’s Our Nature
By Rebeca Orozco,Illustrated by Menena Cottin,Tundra Books, 2012.24 pages$14.99
*****
Reviewed by Christina Stone

It’s Our Nature is a book that encourages readers to investigate the commonalities between humans and animals, and to think about what humankind can learn from the animal kingdom. At the beginning of the book, the author invites us to reflect on the notion that, like humans, animals also experience feelings like love, pain, happiness, and sadness,. In the pages that follow, readers learn how a variety of species live in harmony with one another. We learn about the character traits and experiences of animals ranging from howler monkeys and flamingos to elephants, crocodiles, and more. In the end, we are encouraged to reflect on how we can learn to value diversity and practise acceptance from our animal friends. The author leaves us with the idea that we are all a part of the animal kingdom and that we, too, can live harmoniously with one another.

I would recommend using this book to support teaching and learning in relation to Character Education. Students can make connections between how humans demonstrate a variety of traits and how animals demonstrate them. This book also links to Investigation and Inquiry around the fundamental concept of sustainability and stewardship within the science curriculum strand of Understanding Life Systems and could specifically link to Grade 1 (Needs and Characteristics of Living Things), Grade 2 (Growth and Changes in Animals), Grade 4 (Habitats and Communities), Grade 6 (Biodiversity). This is a great mentor text to use with a wide variety of age groups to challenge students to think deeply about the interdependence of, and connections between, humans and the animal world.

Christina Stone is a member of Elementary Teachers of Toronto.

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