[Nonfiction Wednesday] An Alphabet Book That Takes You Around The World in Anita Lobel’s “Away From Home”

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Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2016 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.

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To say that this book is perfect for our current reading theme would be a gross understatement. It seems to have been created with our theme in mind. I am also constantly on the lookout for alphabet books that are ingeniously crafted (see my review of alphabet books with pizzazz here and sinister alphabet books here). This is a wonderful addition to the alphabet books I have featured thus far.


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Away From Home

Written and Illustrated by: Anita Lobel
Published by: Greenwillow Books, 1994 ISBN: 0688103545 (ISBN13: 9780688103545)  
Personal copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

Similar to the style seen in Edward Gorey’s deliciously-moribund Gashlycrumb Tinies that uses each letter of the alphabet as the first letter of a child’s name who dies frighteningly gruesome deaths, Lobel’s ingeniously-crafted Away From Home follows the same format with each child traveling to a city (good strategy of using cities instead of countries – more options that way) beginning with that particular letter of the alphabet, inviting alliteration and word play – see what happens to Adam and Bernard below:

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I also took note of how delightfully multicultural it is – with the use of many children coming from different ethnicities and walks of life playing a starring role in each of the page depicted as a theatrical stage of sorts – the presence of stage hands peeking somewhere on the side of the makeshift stage was particularly alluring.

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Recall that this book was published in the 90s – a time when including (what is now perceived mostly as token) characters from all walks of life was fairly uncommon.

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What is even more awesome is the afterword that Anita Lobel wrote that indicated which countries these cities are found, and a brief description of the monuments or landmark buildings she used to depict the city.

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Would you like to know which country Zachary went to? Then you have to find this book. I also loved how Anita Lobel used the jacketflap of the book to share what inspired her to create this book:

Anita Lobel says, “I have traveled in airplanes and on ships. I have been a refugee. I have been an immigrant. I have been a tourist. I have walked on quiet back streets and squares of foreign cities. I have posed for pictures in front of famous buildings. From theater seats I have floated in imaginary landscapes. I hope this theatrical picture-postcard journey is an invitation to learning more about places far away from home.”

Find this book and share it with your students or children.

1 Comment on [Nonfiction Wednesday] An Alphabet Book That Takes You Around The World in Anita Lobel’s “Away From Home”

  1. annettepimentel // August 10, 2016 at 10:34 pm // Reply

    I love the quote from Anita Lobel at the end the most. I think she was being literal, but it could fit all of us figuratively…”I have been a refugee. I have been an immigrant. I have been a tourist.”

    Like

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