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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Way to School, by Rosemary McCarney with Plan International. Second Story Press. 2015. $18.95 ages 5 and up

"...  kids try
to make their way
to school.
Maybe like you,
they walk, or ride,
or take the bus.
But for many children,
the way to school is not
that easy."

The ability to attend school is something we take for granted in North America. We may rarely consider how lucky we are to have that privilege. Our house faces the bus drop-off for our neighborhood school, and our kids had to walk half a block to the crosswalk that led them through the front door. We had our house built where it is because of the proximity to a school they would attend from kindergarten through sixth grade. We appreciated how lucky we were, and were aware that many of their friends had long bus rides to get to school each day. As the buses and cars arrive next week, and I hear the chatter of school children as they arrive to begin a new year, I will be thinking of the some of the children shown in this excellent book.

Many children around the world are not afforded the opportunity to attend school. They have no access to roads, sidewalks, even paths to get them from home to the school. Or, they have no money and must work to help support their family. On the other hand, there are those who are so determined to attend that they use a variety of methods to ensure an education ... they are unusual, terrifying and successful. Rivers and mountains can get in the way. Narrow bridges offer little protection, as do narrow wires and bamboo poles. No matter the obstacles these children make their way, attending with happy excitement.

 The text is minimal and assure that the photographs (which will astound readers) have pride of place in a book that is sure to have us consider just how lucky we truly are. Each photo is accompanied by an unobtrusive label for the country represented. Whether it is by foot, boat, rope, ladder, zip-line, animal, wire, these children know the value of education and will go to any length to get one. Bravo!

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