[Monday Reading] Similarly Different Worlds Celebrated in Picturebooks

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

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We have just launched our new reading theme for May-June. As we celebrate how interconnected we all are in a variety of ways, I thought it would be great to start with these two multicultural titles that show just that.

IMG_0451Same Same, But Different

Written and Illustrated by: Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Published by: Christy Ottaviano Books, 2011 Book Awards: Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for New Illustrator (2012), South Asia Book Award for Grades 5 & Under (2012) ISBN: 0805089462 (ISBN13: 9780805089462). Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. 

Two young boys coming from different parts of the world come together through postcards and illustrated notes. While Elliot lives in America, Kailash lives in India.

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What started off initially as a school project (at least, this is what I deduced from the images – see above) turned into a genuine sharing of the little things that make up a life – allowing for the most unlikely of friendship to develop across oceans and wildly-different timezones.

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In the jacketflap of the book, the author noted that it was in her travels to Nepal and India where she learned about the popular saying “same same but different” which the locals use in reference to cultural variations. I find that these little tidbits are important in also establishing author intent and inspiration.

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The image above also establishes that while the appearance of, say, a school bus may be different across cultures – it has the same intent of getting children to school safe and sound. While I felt the book may have benefited from some modern-day twists (it is way easier to exchange letters or notes via emails/facetime/social media nowadays), I did think that the author may have wanted to retain the old-school feel of how it was like to exchange letters during the pre-internet days (sounds so prehistoric, doesn’t it?). For teachers who may wish to use this picturebook in the classroom, here is a downloadable PDF link that contains suggested activities across different subject areas.

One World, One DayIMG_0438

Text byBarbara Kerley
Published by: The National Geographic Society, 2009 ISBN: 1426304617 (ISBN13: 9781426304613). Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. 

In the same vein as Clotilde Perrin’s At The Same Moment Around the Worldthis National Geographic Title with sparse but highly effective text by Barbara Kerley shows what a single day may be like for children in different parts of the world.

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From the time young children get up in the morning (with all the varied wake-up rituals that accompany this) to the different tastes of breakfast:

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and the many things children learn while in school:

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– this book effectively shows sameness while not sacrificing distinctiveness across cultures. Among all the outstanding photographs, the one below happens to be a personal favourite:

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I truly feel that picturebooks such as these are highly important – especially during these tumultuous times when it seems easier to hate those who are foreign and unfamiliar, the outsiders. This is a thoughtful reminder of how we are all made of the same stuff, regardless of our cultural differences and outward appearances. The detailed notes found at the end for each of the photographs are little vignettes in and of themselves: lyrical, reflective, almost meditative. Definitely a title that should be part of any classroom library. For teachers who wish to use this in the classroom, Kerley has created this teachers’ guide you may wish to check out.

Currently Reading…

It’s been slow-going for me for these two novels – both are extremely thick and relatively heavy-going. Hopefully, I finish both this week: The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, Elio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson; and In The Country: Stories by Mia Alvar.

  1. One Plastic Bag is a book I read this week and added to my ‘to buy’ list for the summer. Funny that I often forget to put picture books on my ‘read’ list.

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  2. I haven’t read any of these books, and now I want them all! I am particularly interested in Sula’s Voyage. I’ll be grabbing that one from the library. I love the cover! 🙂

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  3. What a great theme! And I love the books you chose to go along with it!

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  4. Universal Republic of Childhood – I love this! Same Same, But Different is another line I love – have ordered the book. I was planning on a theme of parents this month, but might just change it to yours.

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  5. The theme is wonderful, Myra. We are the Same, Same but Different (a favorite book). Thanks for One World, One Day. It looks like a nice one to share with the grand-girls.

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  6. What a great theme, I’m looking forward to all the great books you’ll be sharing!!

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  7. I love the theme of same but different. Both picture books look amazing.

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  8. What a great theme, and great picks in terms of books to ago alongside it. The National Geographic one looks particularly interesting.

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  9. Those look like beautiful picture books! I need to check them out! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I really love One World, One Day. Thanks for the reminder. I haven’t shared it with students for a while.

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