When my friend Jamie asked if I wanted a copy of her upcoming book, Give Your Child the World, I thought it was about traveling the world with kids and how to do it. I had nooooo interest whatsoever in that grand endeavor – traveling anywhere with kids is to me like putting rocks in my cereal (and I don’t even like cereal).
But the book was already on its way, so I decided I’d read it and enjoy it like I would any old fiction book – as a bystander enjoying someone else’s adventure.
Even when I received the book, I snapped this picture and shared on Instagram, fully thinking it was actually about leaving home:
Luckily I didn’t give away my ignorance in the text, but I did recommend it to a reader who was already traveling the country in an RV, and only when I finally slowed down and paid attention to the subtitle (after I started reading it, ahem), did I realize it’s all about Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time.
You mean I don’t have to buckle anyone into a carseat?
No travel plans?
The most work I have to do is put a few books on hold at the library?
Well…I’m a convert.
Globally Minded Kids?
I grew up in a tiny northern Michigan town where racism was still alive and well, mostly because people were so sheltered. I could count on one hand the number of non-white people I knew. There was in fact still discrimination between German Lutherans and Polish Catholics.
As a teen, I had some incredible opportunities to travel outside the country, and it opened my eyes and rocked my world. There was life outside this tiny rural community – and it was vast, wide, and varied.
I’m a strong supporter of sharing the world with my kids before they actually have to leave the country, in expanding their worldview without a life-altering experience that had some negative aftershocks for me.
As I read Jamie Martin’s story of building her family from three countries, an inspiration that will edify and uplift you as a Christian and tug your heartstrings as a parent, I realized that yes, in fact, I was going to appreciate this book, and I was grateful for it.
Let’s Tour Brazil With Books
Basically after the story of why being globally minded is important to Jamie, the rest of the book is an annotated, carefully curated book list of over 600 titles for children of all ages, organized by location in the world.
I was lucky enough to be starting it during the Olympics, so I skipped to the chapter on Mexico, Central and South America and found all the books on Brazil plus a nice selection from other countries.
It took 15-20 minutes, maybe, to order a few dozen from our library. The only disappointing piece was how many were not available, even in our fairly large metro area library cooperative. Nonetheless, the books started pouring in, and I set them up like a good teacher – tempting the kids with covers facing out:
I’m not a homeschooling mom, so we don’t really have any at-home academic routines other than reading nightly.
I didn’t do any grand introductions about expanding worldview or even explain much at all officially about what I was doing, but the children’s curiosity worked as it should and over the next few weeks, they selected and we read titles about folklore from Mexico, frogs and spiders in the Amazon rainforest, how books got to children in the mountains of Argentina and more.
Even my older son, a hopeless fantasy-only fiction reader, ended up grabbing a few of the nonfiction and chapter books I selected for his age group, learning about slaves in South America and animal biologists’ adventures in the rainforest in the process. Just last night he told me he wants to learn more about what flavors go together in cooking and how he was reading about how to make Greek yogurt and use it in many Greek dishes. He was flipping through an international cookbook from which we have made zero recipes – I told you there’s no academic routine here! – but at least it’s getting some wheels turning.
The magic of simply having good books with a new perspective in our home is clearly working, and I’m loving it!
Ultimately, although I think this book is perfectly suited for homeschooling families and highly recommend it for that crowd, it’s also been a nice surprise for me as well. If a nudge to get a bunch of great books (and not just easy reader Batman, sigh…) in your home sounds good to you, then by all means Give Your Child the World has a place on your book list.
I’m well known for honest, thorough product reviews…
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