While I love funny, silly children’s books that are purely enjoyable, I am a sucker for books that help my children to become better people. Books that help them better understand themselves; books that equip them to deal with life in a more productive, positive, kind way. And books that help them better understand others; books that help bridge gaps and build relationships; books that help people understand and respect those who look or act differently. Books that make our large world a little smaller, a little more familiar, a little less scary. This is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids From Around the World by Matt Lamothe is one of those books.
To write this book, Lamothe followed seven real children (and their families) from around the world, gaining an understanding of typical days for each child in this diverse group. On each page (or sometimes two), Lamothe takes an aspect of a day (“this is where I live,” “This is what I wear to school,” “This is how I spell my name,” and “This is how I help,” for example) and breaks the pages into seven parts, one for each child. Each child’s area has a first-person statement (“I hang wet laundry on the clotheslines to dry.”) and an illustration of the statement. I love the simple, understandable, relatable text and illustrations, as they make this accessible for even the youngest audiences, and I love the depth that could be attained through conversation about the differences shown on each page.
But in my mind, the final statement is what makes this book so powerful: “This is my night sky,” depicted with one double-page spread. In the end, Lamothe reminds us that we’re all staring at the same night sky, the same moon and stars.
Jacqueline Kennedy once said, “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” Books like Lamothe’s This is How We Do It are perfect ways to enlarge our children’s worlds, to build empathy, understanding, and kindness.
If you liked This is How We Do It, check out:
- They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
- People by Peter Spier
- Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
- Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon
- A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary
- Global Babies (and any other board books by The Global Fund for Children)*** Our girls LOVED this one as babies, so grab this one if you want to start young!!!
- Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
- Around the World in a Bathtub: Bathing All Over the Globe by Wade Bradford
- The Barefoot Book of Children by Tessa Strickland and Kate DePalma
- Welcome to Our World: A Celebration of Children Everywhere! by Moira Butterfield
- Children of the World: How We Live, Learn, and Play in Poems, Drawings, and Photographs by Anthony Asael and Stephanie Rabemiafara
What are your favorite books to read with your children and enlarge their worlds?