The intended audience may find this less interesting than educators and librarians looking for program ideas; nevertheless,...

BIRTHDAYS

BEYOND CAKE AND ICE CREAM

From the Orca Origins series

A survey of birthday customs from ancient times to today’s birthday wishes on social media.

The special feature of this recently launched series is the inclusion of personal reminiscences, some of which are more unusual than others. Here, the mother-and-daughter co-authors have used some of their own, with the most compelling being Tate-Stratton’s memory of spending her 20th birthday in Japan, where she joined in Adult’s Day, Seijin no Hi, wearing an opulent kimono and participating in ceremonies at the local city hall and religious shrine. The origins of birthday customs in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome are described, as are celebrations in many contemporary countries. Special ceremonies and parties for specific ages, such as the Latin American quinceañera for 15-year-old girls, Jewish bar and bat mitzvahs (religious coming-of-age ceremonies for 13-year-old boys and 12-year-old girls), and parties for Korean 1-year-olds, are explained. The authors also call attention to birthdays for senior adults, especially in Asian countries. The color photos are excellent, and the text is well-researched (although not much is included on African countries), but the activities scattered throughout the book are less than exciting: a recipe or two (some measurements are only in metric units), a birthday calendar project, a simple game for kids younger than the target audience, and suggestions for thinking about and reflecting on the past year and goals for the next.

The intended audience may find this less interesting than educators and librarians looking for program ideas; nevertheless, a useful book. (glossary, references and resources, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1297-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Adults may have to force-feed this purposive book to those not yet committed to the important causes outlined here.

WHAT'S FOR LUNCH?

HOW SCHOOLCHILDREN EAT AROUND THE WORLD

"Organic," "sustainable" and "food miles" all appear in the comprehensive glossary of this book, whose simple title and cover photograph imply a basic approach to the international topic of food.

This very political book, biased toward food equity, explains why certain foods are eaten in certain countries and why school lunches are important. They fill various needs, from the teaching of courtesy and table manners in France and Japan to the supply of basic nutrients for Somali children in refugee-camp schools. Efforts to improve children’s eating habits, curb obesity, encourage use of local crops and provide food to students with limited economic resources are discussed. As the book is from Canada, naturally there are some references to that country in many of the comparisons. Though published in a seemingly picture-book format, the text is complex. Most two-page spreads describe school lunchtime in an individual country, with a cartoonish illustration on the left and a large photograph of a typical meal on the right with numbered arrows pointing to particular elements. Lengthy captions are keyed to each number. Small globe images in each spread point out countries, but larger maps and a bibliography would be useful. “The Message to Parents, Teachers and Students” provides project ideas.

Adults may have to force-feed this purposive book to those not yet committed to the important causes outlined here. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-88995-482-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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An intimate gateway to learning about the Cree First Nations people from the perspective of its elders.

SHARING OUR TRUTHS / TAPWE

From the This Land Is Our Storybook series

Henry Beaver (Cree) shares truths about the Cree culture with his visiting grandchildren to pass on its traditional knowledge.

The first lesson he introduces is how to harvest salt on the salt plains of Fort Smith, located in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Colorful photos then show Henry and the grandchildren trapping beaver while Henry’s wife, Eileen, (Cree and Chipewyan) demonstrates how to skin the animal for hides used in making mitts, moccasins, and parkas. There’s actual step-by-step instructions for tipi setup with accompanying illustrations. Eileen shares the importance of smudging and offers descriptions of each of the sacred plants that are used for spirit cleansing. This is followed by traditional Cree stories told by Eileen and Henry as they spend the night in the tipi with their grandchildren. The importance of teaching as a vehicle for transmitting culture suffuses the narrative, with lessons gleaned from the smallest of details transmitted smoothly and naturally in the narrative; that learning never ends is emphasized in Henry’s description of himself as “an Elder in training for twenty years.” The trip is a heartfelt family experience, and the accompanying photos lend the book the feel of a family album packed with good memories, a visual connection made to be accessible to all readers.

An intimate gateway to learning about the Cree First Nations people from the perspective of its elders. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-927083-52-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Fifth House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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