A colorful, engaging text that will help young readers find a greater appreciation of another culture.

If You Were Me and Lived in...India

A CHILD'S INTRODUCTION TO CULTURES AROUND THE WORLD

Young readers learn about the culture, geography and life of their peers in India.

In Roman’s (If You Were Me and Lived In…Kenya, 2013, etc.) latest installment of her cultural series (previous volumes covered France, Mexico and other countries), she transports readers to India, where she takes them on a whirlwind, detailed tour. Geared toward young readers, the story also works as a primer for readers of all ages. Beginning with maps showing India’s place in the world and the location of the capital, New Delhi, the book reveals everyday life in India from the perspective of a child. For instance, readers learn what children call their parents—“When you talk to your mommy, you would call her Maaji. Then when you need your daddy, you would say, ‘Pitaji!’ ”—and about the food—“Some people in India do not eat beef or pork, so there are ways to cook vegetables with interesting spices. Cumin, curry, cinnamon, and chilies are used in abundance to flavor the dishes.” Roman describes important sites in the country, such as the Taj Mahal; holidays; sports; and other details. This book, like the others in Roman’s series, is engaging and straightforward. The colorful images help comprehension of the text. An illustration of a cricket match, for example, helps show the similarities to American baseball. At the conclusion, a pronunciation key provides phonetic spellings and definitions. In addition, the construction of the sentences throughout the story—“You would…” and “You might like…”—helps young readers imagine themselves in the various scenes. Most kids go to school, play games and celebrate holidays, and Roman’s stories help them realize how much we all have in common.

A colorful, engaging text that will help young readers find a greater appreciation of another culture. 

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1484930861

Page Count: 28

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2014

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INSIDE AMERICAN EDUCATION

THE DECLINE, THE DECEPTION, THE DOGMAS

American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN

A former NFL player casts his gimlet eye on American race relations.

In his first book, Acho, an analyst for Fox Sports who grew up in Dallas as the son of Nigerian immigrants, addresses White readers who have sent him questions about Black history and culture. “My childhood,” he writes, “was one big study abroad in white culture—followed by studying abroad in black culture during college and then during my years in the NFL, which I spent on teams with 80-90 percent black players, each of whom had his own experience of being a person of color in America. Now, I’m fluent in both cultures: black and white.” While the author avoids condescending to readers who already acknowledge their White privilege or understand why it’s unacceptable to use the N-word, he’s also attuned to the sensitive nature of the topic. As such, he has created “a place where questions you may have been afraid to ask get answered.” Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation: Your friend respecting and appreciating Black arts and culture? OK. Kim Kardashian showing off her braids and attributing her sense of style to Bo Derek? Not so much. Within larger chapters, the text, which originated with the author’s online video series with the same title, is neatly organized under helpful headings: “Let’s rewind,” “Let’s get uncomfortable,” “Talk it, walk it.” Acho can be funny, but that’s not his goal—nor is he pedaling gotcha zingers or pleas for headlines. The author delivers exactly what he promises in the title, tackling difficult topics with the depth of an engaged cultural thinker and the style of an experienced wordsmith. Throughout, Acho is a friendly guide, seeking to sow understanding even if it means risking just a little discord.

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-80046-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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