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Books with Global Appeal

By Margriet Ruurs
Books with Global Appeal

Pay it Forward Kids: Small Acts, Big Change by Nancy Runstedler (ISBN: 978-1-55455-301-3).
From collecting books for those who do not own any, to random acts of kindness to save a grandmother’s house, this book highlights children who make a difference. Jeneece in Canada suffers from a rare genetic disease, but this did not stop her from raising millions of dollars to build a home for patient families near the local pediatric hospital.
Nine-year-old Alaina formed an organization called Little Women for Little Women, helping girls in Afghanistan get an education. And Jack and his sister Madi in Virginia are trying to overcome bullying through acts of kindness. All of these children are making the world a better place, and this book inspires young readers to learn from their examples!
Why Do We Fight? by Niki Walker (ISBN: 978-1-926973-86-9). This is a book for ages 10 to 14 that explains conflict, war and peace. In plain language, the book looks at causes of conflict such as land ownership and religion. It examines “haves” and “have-nots,” sharing and power struggles. A clear look at Middle Eastern conflicts and cultural clashes elsewhere in the world explains the origins of struggles.
Conflicts can be solved through mediation and negotiation, and the book explains how these tactics may work, using as examples ancient sagas as well as modern United Nations events. How can each of us work toward peace settlements and understanding others, across the globe and among our neighbors? This book can be a powerful tool in discussing all aspects of conflict.
Not Your Typical Book About the Environment, by Elin Kelsey (ISBN: 978-1-897349-84-7) is exactly that. Not typical, but highly entertaining and informative. Bursting with interesting tidbits and practical information on how to make the planet happy, this book is a practical guide to what children, and anyone else, can do to help the world.
Comic strips throughout share information on having a more positive impact on the environment, such as “How video games and cell phones are connected to gorillas,” which actually shows clearly how recycling and reusing can have a positive effect on endangered mountain gorillas. A fantastic book for anyone interested in the environment.
You Are Stardust, also by Elin Kelsey (ISBN: 1926973356) begins as a gentle, nonfiction story of how every tiny atom in our bodies came from a star that exploded long before we were born.
Intimately connected to the natural world, the book compares the way people learn to speak to the way young birds learn to sing, and the growth of human bodies to the growth of forests.
Grounded in science, this extraordinary picture book provides opportunities for children to use their imagination and put big ideas into small, understandable concepts. Soyeon Kim’s incredible diorama art enhances the poetic text. (To see how the incredible art for this book was made, visit
And finally a book for adults and kids alike, which is both a coffee table art book and an intriguing story: A Camera, Two Kids and a Camel by Annie Griffiths Belt (ISBN 978-1-4262-0245-2). Ms. Griffiths Belt spent much of her life traveling around the globe on assignment for National Geographic. She did so with a husband and two children, cases of camera equipment, and everything needed for a nurturing family life.
In this book Ms. Belt shares intimate moments, and lessons learned from other women and men she met, through stories and breathtaking photos. The stories show life among Bedouins in Jordan, adventures in Africa, a Druze wedding in Israel and much more. Fascinating!
Margriet Ruurs is the author of 30 books for children and her latest title is Families around the World. She lives in Canada and conducts school visits around the world.
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