________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 12 . . . . February 6, 2009

cover Mexico: The Land. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series). Rev. Ed.

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9661-9 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-9293-2 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
Mexico-Description and travel-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4

cover Mexico: The People. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series). Rev. Ed.

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9662-6 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-9294-9 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
Mexico-Social conditions-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4

cover Mexico: The Culture. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series). Rev. Ed.

Bobbie Kalman.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9663-3 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-9295-6 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
Mexico-Social life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4

cover South Africa: The Land. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series). Rev. Ed.

Domini Clark.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9658-9 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-9290-1 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
South Africa-Description and travel-Juvenile literature.
South Africa-Geography-Juvenile literature
.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4

cover South Africa: The People. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series). Rev. Ed.

Domini Clark.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9659-6 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-9291-8 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
South Africa-Social conditions-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4

cover South Africa: The Culture. (The Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series). Rev. Ed.

Domini Clark.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-9660-2 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-9292-5 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
South Africa-Civilization-Juvenile literature. South Africa-Social life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

*** /4

It’s important to keep books about other countries up-to-date in library collections as it’s embarrassing when children use information that is years out of date in research projects. Change occurs rapidly in some countries, and so books should reflect the current reality.

     Crabtree has recently updated its some of the books in it “Lands, Peoples, and Culture” series. Except for a few omissions, the new books about Mexico and South Africa, copyrighted 2009, do contain timely information that will students an accurate understanding of how people live and what shapes their lives at this time.

     Each book is 32 pages long and contains 12 two-page chapters, with a glossary and index on the final page. Bright colour pictures with useful captions complement the informative text. Historical information and myths are accompanied by drawings. Each book about the people concludes with a story with plenty of detail about the daily life of a child of the age to which student researchers can relate.

Puso leaps out of bed and runs out of his family’s home, which is in his grandmother’s backyard. He passes his Uncle Jairus’s home as he races across the yard, around the side of the brick house, and up the front steps. Even though it is only 5:30 a.m., there is a light on in the kitchen. He tiptoes up to Grandma, gives her a big hug and announces, “Happy birthday!” “Thank you, Puso, since you’re here early, why don’t you take a shower? Usually, Puso washes from a basin in his parents’ home, because they do not have running water. (From South Africa: The People.)

     The books touch on some of the serious social problems that plague Mexico and South Africa. In Mexico, the oppressed situation of the indigenous people in Chiapas has led to the rise of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. In South Africa, the brutal apartheid regime denied non-Caucasians their basic human rights for decades and led to enormous social disruption. However, the books should be more forthright about other major problems that affect the lives of the people. After tourism, the drug trade is the second largest industry in Mexico. Drug wars have left many people dead and are a scourge on society. In South Africa, the government of Thabo Mbeki refused to acknowledge scientific evidence about the transmission of HIV AIDS and did not issue anti-viral drugs en masse, especially to pregnant women. The result was the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Mbeki, described as a hero in South Africa: The People, has been turfed from office by his own party, something that should be mentioned to make the 2009 copyright date valid.

     Overall, these books will enable students to learn much about Mexico and South Africa. They contain important information about the main topics students will want to learn about, and the books provide a lot of interesting detail and photographs that will keep them turning the pages. These books will be useful additions to a school or classroom library.

Recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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