A Christian guide to the world.
This atlas, developed by the Christian organization Compassion International, focuses on a handful of countries around the world served by this faith-based nonprofit. The book is organized by continent, and each country has a set of illustrated maps and photographs of children who are presumably participants in the programs Compassion International funds, although this is never specified. The images and text highlight regional poverty—such as the photo of half-clothed children gathered on the sidewalk in what looks like a slum in Haiti or the accompanying facts about the lack of access to education and economic security—thereby describing each nation from a deficit perspective. Even the opening questions, which are supposed to help readers make connections between themselves and other children around the world, are phrased poorly, including details that derail the focus from children’s ingenuity to their poverty, such as the fact that children in Kenya make shoes from “worn-out tires.” Additionally, many of the observations seem to come from a Western perspective, such as the question of what “language” (singular) children speak, something that would never be asked in a multilingual household in many of the countries featured in this book. The book not only lacks depth, but also scope: It covers only 25 countries, none of which are in Europe. The omission further highlights the underlying message that countries in the global south are underdeveloped and ignores an important opportunity to make connections between Western imperialism and current conditions.
A poorly designed atlas that reads more like propaganda than nonfiction. (Nonfiction. 8-14)