Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Passport to the World

Passport to the World by Craig Froman is "Your A to Z Guided Language Tour." Packed with intercultural facts, this book offers a geographic journey through 26 language groups, from Armenian to Zulu.

Readers begin with a history of language. This two-page spread tells where our story begins (Genesis) and where our story will end (Revelation). The author explains how people went from one language to over 6800. Readers briefly travel from a plain in Shinar (the Middle East) to the Tower of Babel to current day. Biblical text of Genesis 11:1--9 is quoted. The author also referenced Genesis 9 and 10. Two maps reveal the seven continents and possible migration patterns of the people from Shinar. The ending? "One day God will gather His people together from every nation and language group." Revelation 7:9 is quoted in the text.

A "how to" introduction diagrams the rest of the book's format. Each of the language groups are given two pages filled with full-color photographs and information, arranged like a dozen sidebars. Photographs show that nation's money, people in traditional dress, people in current or everyday clothing, an interesting building or geographical site, and other specific national items. Meanwhile the text teaches readers:
  • Name of the language and where it is spoken
  • Fast Country Facts: This image consistently includes a map of the nation, the nation's flag, capitol, size, population, life expectancy, literacy rate, number of internet users, internet code and monetary unit.
  • Greeting From a Friend: This is a welcome letter introducing readers further to the country and the language. It typically includes some of the Country Facts written in paragraph form, but also expands upon those with the hidden meaning behind names and common religions practiced.
  • Country Proverb: a common saying among this language group
  • Did You Know? offers a handful of interesting facts about food, education, government, history, culture or even the land.
  • Speak the Language: Here readers learn how to say hello, goodbye, thank you and peace in this language. Phonetic spelling is provided.
Back matter provides even more learning opportunities. Country Facts at a Glance shows combines and ranks all the featured nations in regard to population, life expectancy, literacy, size and internet users. Name that Flag and Name that Country challenge readers to match nations with an image of their flag or the outline of the geographic territory (shape). Also provided: a removable passport and stickers.

Finally, Breaking the Language Barrier reminds us that we can help people, even if we don't speak their language. After quoting James 1:27, the author lists 10 organizations (complete with websites) that work around the world. Included are Children's Christian Hunger Network, Children's Hope Chest, The Water Project, UNICEF, Compassion International and World Vision, among others.

What I Like: Everything! This books is fantastic, not only for teaching global awareness through anthropology and geography, but also for raising mission-minded kids. I especially like that, while the United States is featured, it's not for English -- the author highlights Cherokee. This allowed my kids to learn something new in spite of their familiarity with our nation.

What I Dislike: Nothing.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: 9-12, but I think kids as young as 5 may enjoy it.

Publisher Info: Master Books 2010; ISBN: 0890515956; Hardback; 64 pages; $15.99

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