Nonfiction – Children Just Like Me!

Children around the world wear different types of clothes, and eat different types of foods. They learn different subjects in school (assuming that they go to school) and celebrate different holidays. But all children have favorite foods, and best friends. Written by Ann Kindersley, with photographs by Barnabas Kindersley, this book is a masterpiece of nonfiction writing for children.

Children from all around the world are featured. At the beginning of each section is a map of the world, or of a continent, surrounded by many pictures of children from that continent. Within the section are double-page spreads featuring a specific child. Each spread has a large picture of the child, sometimes accompanied by siblings, with a short paragraph about the child and where he/she lives. Smaller pictures with captions fill the pages. Some subjects are consistent across all of the subjects, such as pictures of favorite foods or a picture with the child and their best friend, or an example of the child’s name written in his or her handwriting in that child’s writing system. Others are individualized to the child, such as pictures of pets, or of dwellings.

Many different kinds of families and cultures are portrayed (although there are no gay or lesbian families included.) Some of the children live within a nuclear family, some with an extended family. Some children are living in an orphanage, while one is training to be a Buddhist monk and lives in a monastery. Different living circumstances, such as where (or if) the child goes to school, what he or she does for fun in their spare time, and what their parents do for a living are explained.

Each child emerges as a true individual. There is no sense that a particular child is supposed to represent his or her culture as a whole, a feeling in large part evidenced by the fact that almost all of the pictures and information are given about “favorite” things. This is definitely a winner for all children.

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