Tag Archives: summer reading

A World of Wonders, Poetry for the Summer Reading Program

As I’m planning and promoting our Summer Reading Program activities, I’m also trying to read books on the theme “One World, Many Stories” both to use in the programs and to suggest to kids who want something to read on the topic. One of the weekly themes is on travel and exploration, and for that week I found an awesome collection of poems called A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated beautifully by Alison Jay that I hope to share with the kids.

A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme The book has verses about different travellers, different locations, geographic concepts, and even some riddles.

One of my favorite, poems is about all the place names that have changed. Probably because it reminds me of the Might Be Giants song.

New Names, Old Places

Sri Lanka used to be Ceylon.
Ancient Persia? Now Iran.

Ziare was Congo way back when.
Now it’s Congo once again.

China? Can you guess? Cathay.
That’s what people used to say.

Thailand once was known as Siam.
Gold Coast turned to Ghana. I am

Always interested in telling
How a country changed its spelling

Dutch East Indies? Indonesia!
Once Zimbabwe was Rhodesia.

Burma changed to Myanmar.
Russia, once USSR…

And so it can be stuck in your head too, here it is:

You’re welcome.


One World, Many Stories, Many of which are Non Fiction

In getting ready for the summer, I’m reviewing some non fiction titles that go along with the Summer Reading Program theme: One World, Many Stories. I’ll post some folktale collections later, but today I have some more books on children of the world.

A Life Like Mine A Life Like Mine, UNICEF. This is a very nice profile of the lives of children around the world. The pictures of children and stories really bring the varying circumstances to life, and statistics and diagrams can clearly explain what are sometimes complicated situations. The one problem with this is that it is growing dated. There is a profile of a girl in Afghanistan that talks about 2001 and there is no question in my mind that circumstances are vastly different today. I hope that this is updated, as it is a beautiful resource.

Children Around the World Children Around the World, Donata Montanari. On one hand this book seems less dated then the previous book, though it is older, but on the other hand the children seem less real. This is because the children are represented with colorful illustrations, not pictures, and the descriptions are sketchy and vague. Because there are no actual photos, this book makes the children seem like stereotypes that are not real people. Personally, I’d rather have real children, who are a little dated.

One World, One Day One World, One Day , by Barbara Kerley. Another beautiful photo montage book from Kerley and the National Geographic. This book follows children as they go about their days, waking up, eating, going to school, working, play, and going home. These children are from around the world, and the end of the book includes extensive details of where the pictures were taken and what was going on at the time. I love those details of the photographer, but the text is super small. It makes me feel old, but I couldn’t read them with or without my glasses on. Overall, this is a great resource for showing how alike and yet different children are all over the world.

Houses and Homes (Around the World Series) Houses and Homes (Around the World Series) by Ann Morris, Ken Hayman, photographer. Interestingly, this beautiful book about the places people live is the oldest title represented here, but still doesn’t feel as dated. Perhaps because it focuses on houses, and not people, and perhaps it is because it is assumed (incorrectly) that if you get pictures of people in other parts of the world they are going to look old fashioned in some way. Regardless, it is a great book, and the illustrations and text are suitable for very young children. I used this in preschool storytime on houses.

As summer approaches, I plan on posting more non fiction reviews of titles on the summer reading theme.


For quite a while I’ve been interested in the politics of water, I once tried to explain to a group of undergraduates how important water and the access to it has been throughout history. They were not impressed. Water is the stuff of life, and has always been that way. But living in the United States, children (including undergraduate students) do not comprehend the complexities and absolutely essential nature of water because it is always there when we need it. However, access to clean water is not universally available, and even for those who can access clean water, many have to travel outside of their homes to get it.

This summer, as part of our Summer Reading Program on “One World, Many Stories,” I plan on doing a program on water an its significance world wide. Hopefully this will be more successful then my presentation to the undergrad students in Ohio. To prepare, I’ve been reading non-fiction books about water around the world. Here are a few of the titles I’ve read.

A Cool Drink of Water A Cool Drink of Water, Barbara Kerley, A beautiful national geographic picture book that just talks about how universal water is, by showing people around the world drinking water and highlighting some of the places that they go to get the water. It is a nice introduction for very young kids to the idea that water doesn’t always come from the tap, but that it is something that draws us all together.

Our World of Water Our World of Water: Children and Water Around the World, Beatrice Hollyer. This book goes into more depth about the ways water works in the lives of 6 children from around the world. The pictures really bring the different culture and climates to life, demonstrating that these are real kids dealing with issues of water scarcity. The child from Ethiopia is a good example of how some kids’ lives are controlled and consumed by their need for water.

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth One Well: The Story of Water on Earth, Rochelle Strauss. This book takes the broadest perspective, covering the water cycle, water use, and the need for conservation. One of the strongest points the book makes is that while the amount of water on earth remains constant, the distribution is uneven, and that there are limited supplies of easily accessible clean water. It is a good introduction to the many ways water is crucial to life on earth.

These three books make a nice introduction to the importance of water around the world. I’m still looking for more titles, so any suggestions would be welcome.


Under here? Underwear? Yep! Today’s reading corner featured an assortment of books on every young child’s favorite topic. Undies! Socks and Pants–under pants! While Thursdays are usually sloooow days at our library, the 10 participants were enthralled with these tales of underwear and socks. I read the stories to two groups, since even a great topic like underwear can’t hold a 5 or 6 yr old still for more then 5 picture books. There were a bunch of kids on the game computers who barely even looked up when I asked them if they wanted to come hear stories. So I grabbed a bunch of kids who had just walked through the door, and they were the most enthusiastic crowd ever–even though they were pretty young, they listened to the entire story of Timothy Cox and also Dirty Joe. My boss came to check up on me at 2, when I was supposed to be done, but these kids were SO entranced that they didn’t even notice him come by.

So here are some of my favorite underwear tales:
A True Story This combines both Underpants and Socks!

Timothy Cox Will Not Change His Socks This is quite long, so definitely an elementary tale, but it is entrancing! What happens if you don’t change your socks for a month? In real life they’d probably fall apart before they could smell as stinky as Tim’s.

Pants This was actually more popular then Parr’s Underwear dos and don’ts, a British take on Pants!