Book Review: This Child, Every Child by David Smith

Many of the world’s 2.2 billion children face life-threatening challenges. War, human trafficking, discrimination, and disparities in income present obstacles to fulfilling basic human needs. David J. Smith, a leader in international education and author of If the World Were a Village and the Mapping the World by Heart curriculum, felt compelled to share with young readers the dramatic and sobering facts about children around the world. The resulting book, This Child, Every Child: A Book About the World’s Children, shows kids what life is really like for children across the globe.

The startling anecdotes and statistics in This Child, Every Child will prompt much-needed discussions at home and in the classroom. For example, 250 million children in the world have no birth certificates, no identity, and can disappear – even in the United States. “These issues are not light or easy, but they affect millions of children,” says Smith.

Smith is uniquely qualified to talk about children’s issues. An international educational consultant and bestselling author, his award-winning book If the World Were a Village has sold 400,000 copies in 23 languages, and Smith has presented programs in more than 40 countries.

Using the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as a template to compare and contrast kids’ experiences and opportunities, Smith introduces kids to the world beyond their own borders and reveals the challenges children face in obtaining adequate food, clean water, health care, education, and more. This Child, Every Child provides resources and suggestions to help kids become involved in making the world a better place. It’s the newest book in CitizenKid™, a collection of books from Kids Can Press that explain complex global issues and inspire young readers to become better global citizens.

“David’s books are emblematic of what we’re committed to do with CitizenKid. They represent a call to action and provide a foundation for educating families, and exemplify the commitment of organizations like UNICEF, ONEXONE and Kids Can to work together to effect change,” explains Lisa Lyons, President, Kids Can Press.

This Child, Every Child: A Book About the World’s Children
Illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong
Kids Can Press, February 2011
Ages 8-12
36 pages, $18.95

A portion of the proceeds from This Child, Every Child will support education programs at the ONEXONE, www.onexone.org, a U.S./Canadian nonprofit that addresses children’s fundamental needs for clean water, health care, education, play and adequate food. This joint initiative will help put free books into the hands of children in Haiti. ONEXONE Ambassador Matt Damon is among those who support the organization.

BIO
David J. Smith has traveled to places as diverse as Bulgaria, Namibia, and Indonesia to speak about his book, If the World Were a Village, and his internationally-renowned Mapping the World By Heart curriculum, www.mapping.com, which helps children learn about the world’s countries and its people. If the World Were a Village won an International Reading Association Children’s Book Award and a Hans Christian Andersen Prize.

Smith is also the recipient of a U.S. Department of Education “Breaking The Mold” Award. He has been featured by NBC’s Today Show, Time magazine, USA Today, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, and others. Smith’s “The Geography Quiz” is a regular feature on “The Jordan Rich Show,” syndicated by WBZ-Radio in Boston.

David J. Smith is a classroom teacher with over 25 years’ experience teaching English, geography, and social studies in grade levels 4 to 12. He first achieved national recognition for his unique method of teaching seventh graders to draw maps of the entire world from memory, now published by Scholastic as a highly successful curriculum, “Mapping The World By Heart.”

In 1992, Smith won the U.S. Department of Education’s “A+ For Breaking The Mold” Award for this work. Since 1992, he has been a full-time consultant, providing lectures and workshops on geography and global issues, and on IT issues, to teachers, parents, student groups, and others in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

The “Mapping The World By Heart” curriculum has achieved phenomenal results in public and private schools throughout the U.S. and in locales as far-flung as Cote D’Ivoire and Japan. It is popular because it works. At the beginning of the school year, students draw maps of the world, and “the results are predictable,” said one article about the program. “The maps always show incredible gaps in students’ mental images of the world, with the only places included being the places that are real to the students — where they live, where they’ve traveled.”

But at the end of eight months, these same students are able to draw detailed maps that include the names and borders of 190+ countries, with their capitals, mountain ranges, rivers, etc. The technique used is both traditional and up-to-date: lots of memorization, but not the old-fashioned methodology of rote-for-rote’s-sake, but rather memorization informed and enriched by the real use of knowledge, study, practice, mnemonics, and games.

Time Magazine, NBC’s Today Show, The L.A. Times, and the Associated Press, among others, have acknowledged Smith and the success of his curriculum. Besides the curriculum, Smith has written articles for the New York Times’s Education Life section, The International Educator, The World Paper, NESA Notes , and Independent School Bulletin. He has also written three other books – two books for children and teachers, If The World Were A Village (2002, Kids Can Press), If America Were A Village (2009, Kids Can Press), and a book for school heads for the US Department of State, Emergency Procedures Manual for US-Sponsored Overseas Schools.

If The World Were A Village has been widely and favorably reviewed in journals such as Booklist, Horn Book and School Library Journal. It was chosen by the American Booksellers Association as their #1-recommended book on the BookSense 76 Children’s list for Spring-Summer, 2002, and Newsweek chose it as one of 10 children’s books on their “recommended reading” list in August, 2002.

In addition, it won the H.C. Andersen Prize for 2003, the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award for 2003, and was named a Smithsonian “Notable Book of the Year.” It has been published in 19 editions, in 16 languages other than English, including Braille.

David Smith was born in the United States, but is a permanent resident of Canada. He and his wife, recently retired from a career at Harvard University, live in North Vancouver, BC.

 

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