CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 18. . . .May 1, 2009
In My Happy Book, a seven-year-old girl, shares 21 everyday situations in which she finds happiness and which bring a smile to her face While this book was written for an audience of young children in Ghana, its contents are still most usable in, and relevant to, North America. The text's simple structure, "I am happy when...." is certainly an invitation to children everywhere to create their own "happy books."
Each page's two line, one sentence text is accompanied by a full-colour photograph, and these photos will encourage young readers to compare/contrast their lives with that of Peace. For instance, just hearing the sentence, "I am happy when I take my bath" may evoke a certain image in a Canadian child's mind, that of a large white bathtub filled with water and perhaps topped by bubbles. However, Peace's bath takes. place outdoors in a large basin, where a pail, not a water faucet, is the water's source. And what does a Canadian child "see" when s/he hears the sentence, "I am happy when I cook with my sister"? Firstly, would most seven-year-old Canadian children even be even found in the family kitchen? Again, Peace's activity occurs outside, and the "stove" she and her sister are using is a small charcoal fueled open stove. In short, the photos provide numerous excellent opportunities for child and parent discussions.
And, though the photographs do reveal many differences in the details between the lives of Ghanaian and Canadian children, the photos also show areas of commonality, such as the simple joy to be found in catching a ball, singing and dancing, playing in the sand, running on a beach or reading a book.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB, and recalls having baths in a washtub when he was a child and lived in pre-electricity rural Manitoba.
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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.