Region: Global

Africa is not a country

Author: Margy Burns Knight & Mark Melnicove (2000); Anne Sibley, O’Brien (illus.)
Description: Africa is Not a Country is perhaps the first picture book about the African continent to respectfully present the diversity of people living in its 53 countries. These authors have created a book that explicitly describes and illustrates the multi-dimensions of the continent. The authors and illustrator subsequently have chosen 25 countries from all the regions of the continent to depict its diversity. A physical map with current country and capital names and a description of the continent follows. They begin with Eritrea, most recently independent. In addition, they feature often forgotten children from Cape Verde, Lesotho, Mauritania, and Madagascar. Moreover, it focuses on children’s activities and not those of adults. The appendix provides basic information for each African country to enable children to compare data. © Africa Access

All the water in the world

Author: Lyon, E. George; Tillotson, Katherine (2011).

Description: A poetic, informative, and thought-provoking picture book looks at water from a global/environmental perspective but never loses sight of the personal for children: “It wobbles in blue pools. It fills your cup up.” George Ella Lyon’s lyrical narrative begins with the water cycle: rain to river to ocean to clouds to rain again. Some places have a wealth of rain and water, while others have little or none. “Living things dream of water …. This wet wonder / means grow / means life will flow / through tigers / through trees. / Through you and through me.” Katherine Tillotson matches Lyon’s lively and lyrical prose with lovely illustrations showing water abstractly—swirls and swaths of blue–and also a very real presence—or absence—in scenes from life on earth: a rain-washed neighborhood of houses, a dry savanna village, a lush tropical forest, and the cycle of life that water makes possible.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Global health narratives: A reader for youth

Emily Mendenhall  (Editor), Hannah Adams (Illustrator), Kate Winskell (Foreword)

Description: A young boy suffering from epilepsy in Nepal seeks treatment from traditional healers and western medicine. A young girl in a Tijuana slum observes the role pollution plays in the health of her community. A teenager in Atlanta is the only member of his family not infected with HIV and is learning to deal with the stigma of the disease.

This collection of unique narratives told from the perspectives of young people from around the world serves as a valuable educational tool, providing youth with a context for understanding global health, not just in a physiological sense, but from psychological and sociological perspectives as well. Representing six geographical regions and twenty-three countries, these stories address chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and epilepsy; infectious diseases like HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and typhoid; and mental and behavioral health issues such as depression, eating disorders, and smoking cessation.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Healthy Kids

Author (s): Maya, Ajmera; Victoria, Dunning; & Cynthia Pon (2013)

In this new title from The Global Fund for Children, readers learn the different ways kids from around the world can stay healthy. Photographs showcase children from Afghanistan washing their hands, a team of boys from Australia playing sports, a group of girls from Panama wearing their seatbelts. There are many ways kids can practice healthy living, no matter where they live.  Back matter includes further information about how to live healthy lives, and how kids can help to improve healthy living around the world so that more kids become healthy.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Mountains beyond mountains

Author: Kidder, Tracy and adapted for young people by Michael French

Description: An adaption of the adult book of the same name (published in 2002) looks at Dr. Paul Farmer’s work providing health care for impoverished people in Haiti and other parts of the world. Farmer’s work, rooted in compassion, is fascinating from scientific, social, and ethical perspectives.  Treating patients there, he realized the need for systems to address global inequities in health care. It’s not enough to treat diseases like multi-drug-resistant TB while ignoring the poverty and other conditions that contribute to them. Troubling, challenging, thorny questions and arguments for and against different courses of action are part of his work with patients and with policy alike. The scope of his impact extends from the lives of the people he’s treated to those affected by policies he’s helped develop. It may also extend to young readers moved by his fierce commitment to preserving health and human dignity.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Yucky Worms

Author: Vivian, French (2012); Ahlberg, Jessica (illus.)

Description: When a child and his grandma dig up a worm while gardening, the boy’s first instinct is to throw it away. “ ‘Throw it away?’ Grandma looked horrified. ‘Would you throw away one of your friends?’ ” When he replies that it’s hard to befriend a creature when you “can’t even tell which end is which,” Grandma seizes the moment to deliver a lesson on the value of earthworms. In a conversational style, she explains worms’ physiology, diets, function as soil aerators and fertilizers, and the dangers they face from predators. She dispels a myth (bisected worms don’t turn into two worms) and demonstrates how to bring worms to the surface with a simulated rainfall. By the time they move on to the next gardening chore, Grandma has cultivated a newfound respect for worms in her grandson. The pencil and gouache art both illustrates and amplifies the text, with cross-sections offering a worm’s-eye view, while informational tidbits and dialogue bubbles embellish the main storyline.  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center