Tuesday, May 9, 2017
This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World, by Matt Lamothe. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. 2017. $24.99 ages 7 and up
I walk by myself along the
city streets past houses and
shops. I smell roasting coffee
beans from a café and say
"Ohayo gozaimasu" to the
Russia ... "
Matt Lamothe is a traveler! He has made many discoveries in this world, recognizing that the lives we live are different. In this new and brilliant book, he helps his readers understand those differences while also helping them see that we have much in common. We are who we are, we live where we live, we have families (if we are lucky), we wear clothing when we go to school, we eat breakfast, we travel to school in a variety of ways, and so on through each day.
I love that the kids he introduces are real. He enlisted families from seven countries to trust that he would bring their stories to an audience. His conversations with the families give his readers a chance to experience daily lives in many parts of the world, while learning about diverse cultures. It is so necessary for our kids today to know and appreciate that. His book is filled with windows and mirrors that allow readers to see their own and other experiences within its pages. It's just a lovely way to learn.
In back matter, we meet the families. Matt provides telling photographs and an explanation for those families chosen:
"We looked for families who have lived in the same country for generations. They follow many of the traditions unique to where they are from, but that doesn't mean the millions of people who call those same countries home have exactly the same tastes and experiences. Not everyone in Peru likes to play soccer, and not everyone in Japan eats fish for breakfast, in the same way you and your friends may have to do different chores, and may wear different clothes."
A glossary gives meaning to words that will be unfamiliar to many readers, and an authors' note adds context and the premise for writing this wonderful book:
"I believe the more you learn about different people, the more you see yourself in them, and the more accepting you become. The more I thought about this, the more I wanted to compare and contrast moments in the lives of children from around the world."
And, at the end of the day, we all see the same night sky!