Look Where We Live!

By Scot Ritchie

Nick, Yulee, Pedro, Sally and Martin are ready for an adventure! Their community is going to have a street fair to raise money for the library, and they all want to help out. Starting at Nick’s house, the five friends explore their neighbourhood, learning about the people and places that make up their community.

Look Where We Live! is Scot Ritchie’s third offering in his series of ‘first books’, stories that encourage young readers to explore their sense of place. Fun, colourful, and informative, it successfully simplifies the complex concept of community for the youngest readers, inviting them to be part of a larger whole in a clear and welcoming way.

Starting with a map of the neighbourhood, the children visit places like the school, the soccer field, the police station and the retirement home, learning how each place – and the people within it – contribute to the community. Concepts are presented on both a micro and macro level: Nick learns that by selling his old toys at a garage sale he can make $4 for the library, a small act that introduces the larger idea of donation. And the ‘Where’s Waldo’format is full of humorous detail (like naughty Max, the dog!) that will delight the eagle-eyed reader.

The book includes a table of contents, a glossary, an art activity and a number of open-ended questions aimed at helping kids understand their own communities. Ritchie has a knack for making big ideas accessible, making this an excellent book for home or school.

Look Where We Live!

by Scot Ritchie

Published by Kids Can Press

ISBN 13: 978-1-77138-102-4

Reviewed by Penny Draper for the National Reading Campaign

The National Reading Campaign publishes children’s book reviews  under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.

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Our Heroes

By Janet Wilson

“How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?” (Xhosa child)

Our Heroes begins with the story of ubuntu, an African word that loosely translated means humanity. Ubuntu recognizes that all people are connected, that we are part of a greater whole. It is a small word for a big idea and in Janet Wilson’s Our Heroes, it is small people who put it into action.

In Wilson’s third book in her series about children who make a difference, she has collected stories of young activists from around the world. Each child decided to take action after a personal experience illuminated for them one of the world’s terrible injustices. They take on hunger, poverty, discrimination and violence with heartfelt, well-focused ideas. Arti works towards eliminating prejudice in her temple so that her low-caste friend can worship too. Kesz provides flip-flops to protect the feet of the children who must scavenge the dump to live. Adib shows farmers how to use mobile technology to get a fair price for their crops. Their stories will inspire, as will the young activists’ words of advice. Find something you’re passionate about. Share. You’re never too young. Don’t let your parents stop you!

Her portraits of the children are warm and engaging, and the photo layout is informative. The book will inspire children and humble adults, and is a must-have for schools, libraries and families interested in social consciousness.

Our Heroes: How Kids are Making a Difference
Written and illustrated by Janet Wilson
978-1-927583-41-8
Second Story Press
September 12, 2014
32 pp
Ages 6-12

Reviewed by Penny Draper for the National Reading Campaign

The National Reading Campaign publishes children’s book reviews  under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.