Book Review: W Is for World

Reading Level

Ages 4-8

Other Books in This Series

• B Is for Brazil
• C Is for China
• I Is for India

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What a wonderful way to learn about other countries! The good folks at Frances Lincoln have hit on a great idea to stimulate your children's learning about other cultures and peoples of the world. Simply put, it's an ABC book in which the stars are people and things that your readers might never have heard of but should get to know as students of the world around them.

These books, for readers as young as 6, take each letter of the English alphabet and apply it to some part of another culture. Each book in the series focuses on one specific country, with the exception of the first book, which focuses on the world at large.

In Kathryn Cave's book W Is for World, children are introduced to other kids and cultures on every continent. In some cases (G is for Grandfather, H is for Home, N is for Name), the situations are identical to those found in young English-speakers' experiences; in other cases, the concepts are new (D is for Desert, I is for icebergs).

And even the situations that seem familiar impart a message of hope and tolerance that is sure to resonate with adult readers weary of global conflict and suffering. For instance, P is for Peace. As the photo below shows, "Peace gives people the chance to work in the fields and walk in the streets without danger." Another example is "U is for Understanding the world and each other."

With vivid pictures and simple words that describe both simple and complex concepts in situations around the globe, this book is a wonderful way to teach young readers that theirs is not the only society on earth, that theirs are not the only problems that kids have in the world, and that theirs might the privileges that youngsters elsewhere might be dreaming of having.

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This is not the only book in the series, however. As of this writing (fall 2004), three others books make up the series—B Is for Brazil, C Is for China, and I Is for India. (Click on the link for each book to read a review of that book.) 

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