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Life in Other Countries

To Market! To Market!
by Anushka Ravishankar, illustrated by Emanuele Scanziani
(Tara Publishing)
To visit a market in India is an unforgettable experience, and the assault on the senses can be almost overwhelming: the sights, sounds and smells all competing for attention. In this book, readers explore the exotic world of a South Indian market in Pondicherry in the company of a small girl with money to spend. The treasures on display - bangles, flowers, fruits, fish and spices, clothes, poultry, masks and murtis - prove so overwhelming that, when it’s time to leave with mum, she hasn’t spent a single rupee but she has had lots of fun.
    The book has an unusual design with its spine at the top, and you read it by turning the pages from bottom to top. The vibrant landscape paintings instantly transport us into the colour, bustle and throng of the artist's favourite market and the author’s rhyming text, with its repeated word-art refrains, seems almost to provide echoes of the vendors’ cries. There is also an element of hide and seek. All these add to the atmosphere of excitement and wonder of this fascinating book.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Home Now
by Lesley Beake, illustrated by Karin Littlewood
(Frances Lincoln)
Set in a glowing Southern African landscape, this is an intensely moving book where the author leaves gaps for the reader to fill. Sieta lives with her Aunty in a place she calls ‘Home Now’, but, despite the friendliness of its people, she does not truly feel it is home, for she remembers another place back over the mountains where she once lived. That was before her head became filled with pictures – pictures of happy times before her parents got sick and died.
   Then, one day, Sieta and her schoolmates are taken to visit an elephant park and there too the inhabitants have lost their families. Sieta meets Satara, the smallest elephant, recognising in him that sadness of loss. That recognition helps Sieta to start to move on, to begin to come to terms with the changes she has faced and to accept Aunty’s love and her new life.
  The vibrant watercolour shades of yellow, red, purple, green and orange in the scenes of township life contrast with the almost overwhelming expressions of sadness and loss in the faces of Sieta and Satara so movingly painted by Karin Littlewood. A postscript from the author explains that there are millions of orphans like Sieta who have lost their parents to AIDS.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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To Market! To Market!
Anushka Ravishankar, illustrated by Emanuele Scanziani
Tara Publishing
£10.99

To visit a market in India is an unforgettable experience and the assault on the senses can be almost overwhelming: the sights, sounds and smells all competing for attention. In this book, readers explore the exotic world of a South Indian market in Pondicherry in the company of a small girl with money to spend. The treasures on display: -bangles, flowers, fruits, fish and spices, clothes, poultry, masks and murtis, prove so overwhelming that when it’s time to leave with mum, she hasn’t spent a single rupee but she has had lots of fun.
The artist, Emanuele Scanziani, with his vibrant landscape paintings, instantly transports us into the colour bustle and throng of his favourite market. With its spine at the top, the book has an unusual design, and is read by turning the pages from bottom to top. The author’s rhyming text, with its repeated word-art refrains, seems almost to provide echoes of the vendors’ cries. There is also an element of hide and seek. All these add to the atmosphere of excitement and wonder of this fascinating book.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Prita Goes to India
by Prodeepta Das
(Frances Lincoln)
In this photo diary, a seven year old girl tells of her first trip to India. She arrives in Delhi where her family is met by relations, and then goes to see the Taj Mahal before making the long train journey to Orissa. Once there, Prita and her family visit her cousins and the village home of her maternal grandparents. Readers can share her fascination as she discovers their way of life and try making the recipe for savoury baras at the end of the book. The final spread contains a glossary and an index.
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Letters from Around the World: Egypt
by David Cumming
(Cherrytree Books)
Part of a series featuring different countries, this book looks at the life of a 9 year old girl called Esraa who lives in Luxor, Egypt. Part of the information is given in a series of letters to her penfriend, the rest is in straight forward text illustrated with colour photographs and clear, simple map. This approach works well to give a view of Egypt geared to the interests of young readers.
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Saying Goodbye: A Special Farewell to Mama Nkwelle
by Ifeoma Onyefulu
(Frances Lincoln)
Written through the eyes of Ikenna, a small boy who looks about 6 or 7, this book describes the ceremonies following the death of his great-grandmother. Emphasising the importance of remembering, this book deals with the aftermath of death rather than the death itself. (She has died before the book begins and her grave is shown but not the burial.) The excellent colour photographs provide a fascinating insight into Nigerian life and customs.
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We All Went on Safari
by Laurie Krebs, illustrated by Julia Cairns
(Barefoot Books)
Subtitled A Counting Journey through Tanzania, this glorious picture book is so much more than a counting book. We share a day, from sunrise to sunset with Arusha, Mosi, Tumpe and their Maasai friends walking in the exquisitely painted East African landscapes, encountering en route a leopard, ostriches, giraffes, lions, hippos, wildebeests, zebras, warthogs, monkeys and elephants before gathering round a goodnight campfire in the dusky purple glow of early evening. The patterned rhyming text is a delight to read aloud and Julia Cairns’illustrations exude her love and respect for the peoples, flora and fauna of Africa. Her choice of colours, particularly the red of the children’s dress, is very powerful
   As well as appropriate numerals, the Swahili number names are given and at the end of the book is a spread giving the Swahili name and interesting information for each animal featured. There is also a page about the Maasai people, one giving the meanings of the friends’ names, a double spread with facts and a map of Tanzania, and a final ‘Counting in Swahili’ page.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Breadwinner
by Deborah Ellis
(Oxford University Press)
When 11 year old Parvana's father is arrested by the Taliban, her family's only source of income is lost. As women are not allowed to work, her mother and older sister can do nothing to help so she disguises herself as a boy to earn the money they need to survive. This novel, based on accounts told to the author in Afghan refugee camps, is told through Parvana's eyes. It captures the reader's attention with its well drawn characters and gives a fascinating glimpse of life in Afghanistan under the Taliban.
Ages 10 to adult
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We go to school in Japan
by Gwynneth Ashby
(Ashby Books)
With only 24 pages, this book is slimmer than most of the ones we feature but it's full of information chosen to interest primary school children. The colour photographs show plenty of differences and similarities between Japanese and British school life and there are 3 or 4 easy to read sentences per page. The section on Japanese writing is particularly interesting with a photocopiable activity sheet encouraging children to try it themselves plus instructions for making an origami Samurai helmet. A useful non-fiction book for the literacy hour.
KS1/early KS2. Ages 5-8
To order, contact gwyn@logic-net.co.uk

 


 

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