CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 3 . . . . September 18, 2015
Though most North American children walk, cycle or ride the bus to school, this delightful, yet eye-opening, book will show them that not all children are so lucky. In many parts of the world, students must use some unconventional, innovative and sometimes scary methods of transportation. Where rivers separate the school from the village, some children must wade, paddle or float across while others "fly" across via zip lines or chair lifts. In mountainous areas, students must walk along the edge of the mountain, with no railing for safety, traverse through a cave tunnel, or climb a tall ladder to the top of a cliff. Animals transport students, too. And, in some parts of the world, kids walk along narrow bridges, some as thin as a single wire and others only as wide as a bamboo pole. Though the journey to school is often dangerous and difficult, the students consider the effort worthwhile and are happy and excited to go to school.
The Way to School has very little text, allowing the large colour photographs to speak for themselves. The photos have the name of the country printed in a tiny font- usually in a corner- so as not to detract the reader's attention from the photograph. Countries represented include: Japan, Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, China, Brazil, Myanmar, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Haiti, Laos, India, Canada and the United States.
Though its message is subtle, The Way to School celebrates schools and the importance of education and is well worthy of purchase.
Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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