This is the time of year when we enjoy giving gifts, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed at times by all of the consumer excess that we see, as well. All of us are especially concerned about the messages we send to our children – we want them to understand what the real meaning of the holidays are, and to understand that the season is about giving as well as receiving. For the parent or grandparent who is looking for a gift for children but wants to avoid yet more toys, books are always a good choice. And I can’t recommend these two enough! Material World has been in our home since 1995, and we still enjoy looking through it. It’s a fascinating look at the material possessions of families throughout the world. These people have been determined “average” for their countries and have agreed to have photographers move the contents of their houses outside in order to create visible representations of their relative standards of living. The dirt house and few possessions of Mali residents contrast with the 4 cars, 45-foot long sofa, and 12+ oriental carpets lined up outside the luxury home of a family from Kuwait. Each chapter includes the original spread of possessions, statistics about each family and country, as well as further pictures of daily life and some observations by the photographer. Interspersed among the chapters, which are divided by region, are pictorial representations of such interesting comparisons as televisions, meals, and toilets. Almost all of the pictures are in full color. Menzel hoped this would be “a unique tool for grasping cross-cultural realities.” It is that and much more!
“What The World Eats” is another fascinating book that your kids will look at for hours. Cultural geographers Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio visited twenty-five families in twenty-one countries to create this fascinating look at what people around the world eat in a week. Meet a family that spends long hours hunting for seal and fish together; a family that raises and eats guinea pigs; a family that drinks six gallons of Coca-Cola a week.
In addition to profiles of each family, What the World Eats includes photo galleries and illustrated charts about fast food, safe water, life expectancy, literacy rates, and more!
Each family’s profile features:
* Full-color photographs, including each family posing with the food consumed in a week.
* Information about each family’s food, including cost and quantity.
* A world map showing where each family lives.
* Facts about that country, including population, currency, average income, and more.
This enthralling glimpse into cultural similarities and differences is at once a striking photographic essay and an essential study in nutrition and the global marketplace.