Tag: jude daly

8 Books That Bring the World to Your Child

We don’t get out much. I would blame it on the fourth baby or on this “hectic” season of life, but I can’t really. Even before we had kids, we didn’t get out much. We just like staying home.

When I opened my Instagram account a few months ago and started seeing all the amazing places my friends take their kids, I began to feel a little guilty about that, like maybe we should be putting our kids in backpacks and trekking up mountains and stuff. And maybe we will once, just so they know what it’s like. But I grew up doing things like that and somehow, it never took. I’d just rather be at home, having dinner with the neighbors and harvesting tomatoes until my hands smell like tomato plants, putting the kids to bed on time and then watching The Clone Wars with my husband.

8 Books That Bring the World to Your Child | Little Book, Big Story

We don’t see ourselves as a family who will travel a lot, at least not for the sake of exploration. We would like to show our kids some parts of the world, yes. That sounds pretty cool. But we have always had a clear vision of our home as a place of refuge, a place our children return to when they are grown and need a rest from their travels, and shaping that refuge (wherever it eventually is) is a daily work that we find it hard to walk away from.

Just because we may not take our children around the world ourselves, though, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t know what’s out there. I find myself looking for more and more ways to broaden their borders so that they grow up grounded but not sheltered: we have dinner with friends from other countries and host foreign exchange students (okay, we did that once, before we filled our house to capacity with babies. But it was a wonderful experience for all of us). We look up every little thing on Google Earth, and bring home stacks of library books about life in other countries.

8 Books That Bring the World to Your Child | Little Book, Big Story

Many of the books on this list came to my attention through Jamie C. Martin’s beautiful book, Give Your Child the World. If anything on this list whets your appetite, then please: read her book first. It’ll fill your cart with incredible titles and your heart with stories of life around the world. The rest of the books on this list are family favorites.

ALL THE COLORS OF THE EARTH, by Sheila Hamanaka

All The Colors of the Earth, by Sheila Hamanaka | Little Book, Big Story

This books describes children not as “black” or “white,” but as “cinnamon, walnut, wheat” and more. Hamanaka uses both her words and her illustrations to celebrate the many different ways children can look. (Read my full review.)

PAPA, DO YOU LOVE ME?By Barbara M. Joosse

Papa, Do You Love Me? | Little Book, Big Story

Set in the Maasai culture of Africa, Papa, Do You Love Me? follows the questioning of a young child as he asks his father, “What would you do if I was cold? If I was hungry? If I did wrong?” The papa’s patient and generous answers show that the love of a father for is child is truly cross-cultural. (Read the full review.)

BEGINby Philip & Erin Ulrich

The Growly Books: Begin, by Philip and Erin Ulrich | Little Book, Big Story

A book about a talking bear may seem like an unlikely choice for this list, but I loved the way that the authors present Growly’s exchanges with other animals: as he runs into cultural differences and language barriers, he meets them with humility and respect. This is a lovely story about a young bear whose world is much larger than he originally thought.

PEOPLE, by Peter Spier

People, by Peter Spier | Little Book, Big Story

This book is an impressive, “big picture” look at people: the many ways they can look, the things they do, the places they live, and more. It’s a fun one to read together or to study alone (the illustrations are incredibly detailed). By looking at the many ways we differ and the few things we have in common, Spier creates a fascinating portrait of the human race.

The Anna Hibiscus Booksby Atinuke

The Anna Hibiscus books, by Atinuke | Little Book, Big Story

Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa, amazing Africa, and Atinuke celebrates that by exploring her daily life in Africa through Anna’s charming perspective. These are early chapter books and heavily illustrated, so they’re perfect for sharing with a beginning reader. In fact, my beginning reader likes to follow me around while I do housework, reading aloud from them like she is my own private audio book. (Read the full review.)

Children Just Like Meby Anabel and Barnabas Kindersley

Children Just Like Me | Little Book, Big Story

My girls found this book enchanting. Dozens of countries appear in its pages, represented by one or two children who give a glimpse into their daily lives. We found ways in which those lives differed dramatically from our own, of course, but we also found many things that our families have in common. If People is a big picture look at humanity, this is a close-up detail shot that focuses on one child at a time.

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON, by Jude Daly

To Everything There is a Season | Little Book, Big Story

Jude Daly uses the familiar passage from Ecclesiastes 3 for the book’s text, but places her illustrations in South Africa. By having one family enact the different “times” described, she gives a fascinating portrait of life in the South African countryside. (Read my full review.)

GIVE YOUR CHILD THE WORLD, by Jamie C. Martin

Give Your Child The World, by Jamie C. Martin | Little Book, Big Story

Jamie C. Martin makes a compelling case for why we should read things that expand our children’s understanding of the world. She isn’t bossy about it, though: she makes her case quietly, by sharing what has worked for her own multi-cultural family and describing their favorite books so enthusiastically that I found myself filling an Amazon cart as I read (oops . . . ).

What are your favorite books about life outside your own community?

To Everything There is a Season | Jude Daly

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

Those words and the verses that follow them hold the whole of our earthly lives in brackets. They have a rhythm, a beat, a pulse like the one that thumps through our days:

a time to be born and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

These verses do not mention God at all, but omit the soaring melody of life’s song and focus instead on that persistent, beating drum:

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

How can eight verses summarize, so fully, an entire life? The language reads so simply that I can see why it would appeal to illustrator Jude Daly, whose paintings depict that simplicity in a gentle, detailed style. She does not touch the global significance of the words (these things happen to each one of us, after all), but instead focuses on a single, South African family, showing the seasons of the earth through the changing seasons of the family’s life together.

To Everything There is a Season | Little Book, Big Story

Her illustrations do justice to the verses, even the heart-breaking ones:

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

To Everything There is a Season is the sort of book that is enjoyable for its own sake, but that could also serve as comfort for families that find themselves in one of the darker times: the time to lose, to break down, to cast away, perhaps. It’s one that we borrow from the library every so often, both to remind ourselves that our lives here have a rhythm, a tune guided by a perfect conductor, and because it is, to put it simply, a beautiful book.


To Everything There is a Season

Jude Daly


Speaking of seasons, Phoebe turned six months old today. That shouldn’t surprise us, but somehow, in the tradition of parents everywhere, we find ourselves caught off guard by the fact that time does that thing it always does and marches on, making our children older every day. With one kindergarten graduate under our roof now and one baby who was just born a week or so ago turning six months old, I find myself ruminating on the rate at which time passes these days (and, on a possibly related note, eating a lot of chocolate).

I think Lydia has been just as excited about Phoebe’s un-birthday as she has been about finishing kindergarten. Whenever I mentioned her last day of school, she sort of acknowledged that I’d said something about school and then added, “And then the next day? Do you know what the next day is? Phoebe’s six-month birthday!

I can’t blame her, though. It is exciting.

And lastly (but not leastly), to Mitch: Happy Father’s Day! May your mustache be ever lustrous, your daughters ever reasonable and your garden ever weed-free and bountiful. From smallest to largest (that’s me), we love you.

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