Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time should be a fabulously helpful resource for homeschool families who want their children to develop a global perspective through living books. Within lists of over 600 recommended books for children ages four through twelve, you will find mostly fiction titles but some nonfiction titles as well. Depending upon the ages of your children and your situation, you might use the books as read-alouds or for independent reading.
Author Jamie Martin provides a brief description of each book. Recommended books are arranged by continents for the most part. The first chapter of recommendations covers multicultural books that are not continent specific--books such as Children Around the World by Donata Montanari. Next are chapters with books related to the continents of Africa, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North America, and Latin America. Book recommendations for Australia, Oceania, and the Polar Regions are combined into one chapter. Within each chapter, books are presented within age groups: ages 4-6, 6-8, 8-10, and 10-12. (Many books in the last category will be appropriate for teens as well.)
At the back of the book is a more specific Country/Region Index so that you can find books under headings such as Denmark, Ethiopia, or African-American. An Historical Index groups titles by time periods beginning with “Ancient Times: Before 500 AD” and concluding with “1990-Present.” The Historical Index might prove extremely useful for those who want to use living books such as those recommended here as part of their study of history. Title and Author Indexes might also prove helpful
Give Your Child the World obviously serves well within a Charlotte Mason approach or a unit study approach to education, but it isn’t limited to that. Any family, homeschooling or not, can enrich their children’s lives by introducing them to people, events, and cultures from around the world and across time. Chapters at the beginning of the book will inspire you with ideas beyond books that, as Martin puts it, “invite the world into your home.” Martin’s love and concern for others shines through in these chapters in a way that I find infectious in the best sense.
While the book is published by Zondervan, a company that used to publish only Christian books, it should be useful to all families. While Martin is probably a Christian, she recommends books that include mention of many different religions. She adds notes at the end of her comments to alert parents--notes such as “Religious beliefs mentioned” when there is mention of any type of religious belief at all. Occasionally, a note reads: “Written from a Christian perspective,” “Buddhists beliefs mentioned,” or something similar when a book or series seems more strongly based on particular beliefs. She also adds occasional warnings about violence or other elements that might be disturbing.
Reviews of each book are necessarily brief, but they should be sufficient to let you know which books are likely to be of interest to you and your children. Most books should be available through your library or for purchase, although a few out-of-print books that are particularly good (and might be relatively easy to find) have been included as well.
Many other books have been written that list recommended children’s books, but Give Your Child the World is particularly apt for today’s more-globally conscious society.