Though my kids are mildly amused by the stories of my youth (what do you mean, there was no internet?), they are much more fascinated by stories about kids from faraway lands. So I’m excited to find a new series of globe-trotting books that offers my kids a glimpse of life outside of our suburban town.
With two books published so far by two-mom team Christine and Aisha, Hartlyn Kids is on its way to creating an entire series about kids from all over the world. What I especially love about The Bamboo Dance and Adventures that Lead to Home is that the stories are packed with unique cultural references, captured by writers with intimate knowledge of each country.
The Bamboo Dance, written by Philippines native Cress Sia, tells the story of a little boy and his friend who practice to learn the native dance of their country. My kids delighted in reading about Paco and Diego’s snacks, the local flowers, and the town’s big annual fiesta, as well as more about the tricky dance both boys must master. I love how information about Filipino culture is effortlessly woven into the story, adding lots of local flavor without sounding like a textbook.
This same detailed writing is evident in the second book, written by India resident Bonita Jewel Hele. Adventures that Lead to Home follows little Rohit as he takes his first solo trip to the city, first meeting a tiger on the way, then getting lost in bustling sea of people. (I think even Lenore Skenazy would be alarmed, though you can assure your kids that all ends well.)
With plenty of text for a long bedtime story (or for older kids to tackle alone), the books are also packed with beautiful collage-style illustrations by Lisa Butler that unify these two very different stories. My kids especially love the little passport sticker in the back of each book which can be affixed to a separately purchased Hartlyn Kids Passport–how clever is that?
Hopefully Hartlyn Kids will publish new titles soon, so my kids and I can continue our round-the-world travels. –Christina