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An introduction to other cultures for kids

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“This is How We Do It” by Matt Lamothe

c.2017, Chronicle Books

$17.99 / $24.99 Canada

52 pages

This morning, you woke up to a big day.

Like most days, you’ll eat breakfast and get ready to leave the house. Every hour is then packed with fun and excitement before you go to sleep in a comfortable bed tonight. Do kids like you live like that in other countries? In “This is How We Do It” by Matt Lamothe, you’ll see.

Meet Romeo from Italy .

He’s eight years old and lives with his parents and siblings in a house with a vineyard out back. There, he has rock-throwing contests with his friends after school. Romeo loves to eat lasagna for dinner, he likes working on model cars with his father, and he goes to bed covered with a warm down blanket.

Meet Daphine, whose nickname is “Abwooli.”

Daphine is seven years old and lives in Uganda “in a house made of wood and mud.” At private school, she wears a red t-shirt and green shorts, just like every other student there. Because her school is very far from home, Daphine lives with her grandmother during the week; even so, she walks a half-hour to get to class.

Meet Ananya, who is called “Anu.”

Eight years old, Anu lives in India and helps her mother after school by hanging laundry outside on a line to dry. Dinnertime for her family is at nine o’clock; afterward, Anu likes to play with her sister before bedtime; then, the entire family sleeps together in one huge bed.

Meet Kian, who is seven years old.

Living in Iran in an apartment near the Caspian Sea, Kian wears a uniform to his all-boys school, where he studies Farsi and the Quran. One of the things Kian likes to do after school is to go horseback riding, and he enjoys helping take care of his baby brother. He also loves to watch cartoons on TV before going to sleep beneath his favorite blanket.

Now meet you. What is your life like?

Based on seven real families living in countries around the world, “This is How We Do It” is a nice introduction to other cultures and a “typical day” that the worlds’ children might experience.

“The world is a huge place…” says author Matt Lamothe, and though he indicates that his book doesn’t necessarily represent how each culture is, as a whole, it’s still a great way to show your child similarities and differences. Simply-hued pictures allow young readers to see where and how other kids live, what their teachers are like, and what can traditionally be found at the table — and though some of those things may be markedly dissimilar to what your child is used to, variations are noted matter-of-factly. The book ends on a note that ties up its whole meaning nicely.

Great for upper-elementary school kids, this book is also a smart reference and a nice start-off point for a school report. Or, if your child merely wonders how the other half of the world lives, “This is How We Do It” gives them a big story.

Posted 12:00 am, August 8, 2017
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