This summer I’m hoping to encourage all of the kids and teens in my community to explore the world through programs and books. When I first heard that we were doing the national theme One World, Many Stories, I went searching for titles that could give me ideas for programs and to share with kids. Judith St. George and David Small’s So You Want to be an Explorer? seems to capture the spirit of heading off into the unknown.
On one level it is really just a collective biography of various adventurers, from familiar figures such as Christopher Columbus to more obscure female explorers like Mary Kingsley. But it is also, as the name suggests, a guidebook of the characteristics needed to head out to see the world. It is successful because it doesn’t try too hard to tell kids every possible detail about all the figures covered, but rather inspires kids to explore the world and even to look into these historical figures to learn more! The illustrations are lovely water colors that don’t focus too much on accurately portraying the figures discussed, rather they are more like caricatures. This is the Caldecott Award winning team of So You Want to be President?, which is supposed to be updated and re-released, I believe.
For this summer, I’m going to include it in our display, and maybe book talk it during our second week program. I’d recommend this book to any other libraries doing the national theme, and for those kids, teachers, and librarians who long to explore the world and want to know how to get started!