OPL children's librarians have selected some titles (available both online and, at select sidewalk pickup locations, in person) for you to read with us during this week of summer. Whether they depict people moving from country to country, living at home around the globe, or meeting people from different places, they encourage us to discover our commonalities, celebrate our differences, and learn to coexist peacefully.
Read, watch, listen, and enjoy!
Same, Same, but Different, by Jenny Kostecki-Shaw: Pen pals in the U.S. and in India learn about each other's daily lives and communities. Read it on Hoopla or check it out from your library (English and Spanish versions available).
This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World, by Matt Lamothe: Simple text compares and contrasts the homes, meals, families, schools, and environments of a collection of real-life children. Read it on Hoopla or check it out from your library.
Grandfather's Journey, by Allen Say: A young Japanese man makes a long trip across the sea in search of a different life -- what will it look like? A true story about the award-winning Say's family. Listen to the eaudiobook on Overdrive, watch an animated story on Kanopy, or check out a CD kit or picturebook from your library.
My Heart Fills with Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith: A calming, heart-warming book that even very young children will savor. Try this one before bedtime and dream of all the people and experiences that make you happy. Read it on Hoopla or Overdrive, or check it out from your library (available as an English board book or a bilingual picturebook in English and Cree).
Around the World in a Bathtub, by Wade Bradford: No matter where you live, kids and grownups clash over bathtime. Words for "yes" and "no" in many languages pepper this charming tale. Read it on Hoopla or check it out from your library.
Whoever You Are, by Mem Fox: Little one, whoever you are, wherever you are, there are little ones just like you all over the world... A gentle bedtime book about common childhood experiences from the author of Where is the Green Sheep? and Possum Magic. Check it out from your library (English and Spanish versions available).
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah: This Young Readers' version of the comedian's autobiography is accessible to middle graders. National, cultural, and personal history intermingle with humor. Read it on Overdrive, or check it out from your library.
Other Words for Home, by Jasmine Warga: Jude's family is separated when they must leave conflict-torn Syria for a strange new country. Written in verse, like Kwame Alexander's The Crossover, this account is a moving, relatable take on the immigrant experience. Read or listen on Hoopla, or check it out from your library.
Refugee, by Alan Gratz: A Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany; a Cuban girl trying to escape the riots and unrest plaguing her country in 1994; a Syrian boy in 2015. As the three stories develop, we begin to see their connections across time and place. Read it on Overdrive or check it out from your library.
When Stars Are Scattered, by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed: Omar and his little brother Hassan live in a tent in a big refugee camp in Kenya. Omar dreams of finding his mama, going to school, going home to Somalia, or maybe being chosen to live in Canada or America, but sometimes it seems like the whole world is off-limits. Graphic novel format for middle grade readers. Check it out from your library.
If the World Were a Village, by David J. Smith for CitizenKid, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong: Updated to reflect newer statistics in 2011, this nonfiction title approaches the world's diversity by imagining it as a village of only 100 people. Who lives where, speaks what language(s), has enough to eat and clean air and water? Check out a print copy, but also make sure to watch the animated video on Kanopy. (By the same author: This Child, Every Child.)
What the World Eats, by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio: Photos are worth a thousand words about various families and what they eat over the course of a week. A great way to explore topics like food justice, nutrition, and home economics. This title is only available in print from OPL, but there are a dozen copies to check out, so it's worth putting it on hold. (You can see more online in this article from Time magazine.)
The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle, by Jude Isabella: Leo's treasured but outgrown possession finds new purposes ina new communities. Back matter discusses how refurbished goods can make a difference, whether far away or close to home. Read it on Hoopla or check it out from your library.
You and Me Together: Moms, Dads, and Kids Around the World, by Barbara Kerley for the National Geographic Society: This is one of several titles in a charming photographic series that showcase children from many parts of the world spending time with their families and friends and dreaming big dreams. Check them out from your library.
Imagine all the people living life in peace. The classic song "Imagine" by John Lennon has been shared by many over the years, including a capella sensation Pentatonix. Click here for a video, and check out this book from your library! You may also want to read about real-life international peacemakers (winners of the Nobel Peace Prize) highlighted in this Hoopla ebook.
Perhaps your family is interested in learning a new language this summer. Video series like Muzzy BBC, Little Pim, and Learning to Speak can introduce you to Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Korean. (OPL's collection of World Languages in print includes all of those, and more.) For a hands-on approach, check out The Book of Languages from your library. Dig deeper with OPL's free connection to Pronunciator, where you can set up language lessons for every member of the family. Just think of all the new people you'll be able to communicate with!
And just as a reminder... there are many captivating picturebooks and graphic novels that are nearly or entirely wordless. Anyone can read them -- hesitant readers, very young book enthusiasts, language students. A favorite way to enjoy wordless books is to gather two or more people (from your household pod or social bubble) around the book and take turns telling what's happening as you turn the pages. To find these gems, search the online library catalog for "Stories Without Words". One of my favorites is Shaun Tan's The Arrival, a story familiar to anyone who has traveled far from home.
Let us know if you want more recommendations — you can submit a request through Book Me!, or email us with other questions at email@example.com. If you'd prefer, you can leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134. And for even more ebooks, eaudiobooks, and more, you can browse Overdrive, Hoopla, Tumblebook, RB Digital, and all of our other online resources!
What reminds you that we are all global citizens? Share with us in the comments!