Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Thursday, October 6, 2011

You've got the whole world in your hands; the whole wide world

A dear member of my staff is going to crack up when she reads this post and she should know that her email yesterday inspired the topic. The topic is globalization.

In selecting middle and high schools for our children, Jeff and I made a point of listening to the way the different schools expressed their plans for integrating this notion into their curriculum and the consciousness of their students. In the earlier school years, the focus is more on teaching a child to participate in a world where they are not alone and not the center. In the upper grades, students start to get a more vivid picture of the global landscape and, hopefully, a sense of their place in it and the opportunities it presents them. Our children attend the Hewitt School and Riverdale Country School in New York City and we are impressed by the efforts both schools make to get kids thinking globally and acting both locally and globally.

Earlier this week, I attended a meeting at school with one of our daughters that represented one small step on our family's part to think and participate globally. We will be hosting a French exchange student for 10 days at the end of the month. Though we're a little bit nervous (okay, completely overwhelmed) and still have some planning to do, we are very excited. It would be nice if our children could develop a lifelong connection with our guest and we're certainly hoping they all become fast friends but there's more. As hosts, our children will need to be flexible and hospitable and we're happy to give them and us this chance to practice important interpersonal skills. We're also hoping this experience helps spark an interest in the world for our children or ignite a spark that's already there. We're hoping all three of our children will want to travel, see the world and actively participate in it as they get older. On a more local level, we'll also be connecting to our own community in a different way. We'll be sharing the American way of life with our visitor and engaging in experiential storytelling. We're told that they do not celebrate Halloween in France and that the children coming to visit are very excited to experience American Halloween. You can only imagine the theme decor we're considering!

In honor of the world, take a look at Matt Phelan's Around The World. In graphic novel format, Phelan tells the stories of Thomas Stevens, Nellie Bly and Joshua Slocum and their adventures as they traveled around the world. Their journeys all took place in the late 19th century and were inspired by Jules Verne's novel Around the World in 80 Days. Nellie Bly's tour was, in fact, a race against the very novel that set her story in motion. She was determined to travel the world in less than 80 days and was delayed by a request from Jules Verne himself for a visit when she came to town. The stories are fascinating and the illustrations are full of feeling, enabling  the reader to peer into the emotions of the intrepid explorers. This book publishes next week, on October 11, to be exact, and is a great addition to a global library. And when you're in the bookstore or trolling around Amazon on October 11, be sure to pick up a copy of Jarrett Krosoczka's new masterpiece, Ollie, the delightful and hysterically funny story of a purple elephant who just wants a place to call home and a family to love. Really, is that too much to ask?!

1 comment:

  1. Did you all see "the middle" episode with the exchange student ... ? sure the Shinders will be much better hosts...