A really thought-provoking nonfiction book for kids is What the World Eats by Faith D’Aluisio, photographs by Peter Menzel. It starts with a thought experiment – imagine it is early Saturday morning, and you wake up for breakfast. What do you eat? Well, that depends. If you’re in America, you have lots of choices, like cold cereal and milk, bacon and eggs, or toaster pastries.
If, instead, you wake up in a village in the east African country of Chad, like Anna Mustapha, twelve (page 38), there are no boxes of ready-to-eat cereal, no cartons of milk, and no pastries from a supermarket bakery (in fact, there is no supermarket). You and your parents grow and raise the family’s food. Your meal is always the same – pudding-like porridge called aiysh and a thin okra soup with maybe a bit of dried goat meat for added flavor. But before you can eat it, the sorghum or millet grain for the porridge must be pounded by hand or machine milled, the water for it pulled from a distant hand-dug well, the vegetables picked fresh or gathered from the drying shed, and the wood or dried cattle dung collected to fuel the cooking fire. Children do almost all of this work for the family” (p. 9).
The book looks at families in over twenty countries, both highly industrialized and those that aren’t. It tells its story of differences in the world’s people through words and photographs. This book reminds me of My Librarian is a Camel because it is another reminder of how easy our lives are in the Western world.