Monday, January 25, 2010

CitizenKid: How To Build Your Own Country

This is the second in a series of posts about the Kids Can Press series, CitizenKid. CitizenKid is "A collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens."

We're featuring the CitizenKid series because one of the CitizenKid authors, David J. Smith, will be at the February 20, 2010 Dublin Literacy Conference.

The theme of this year's conference, our 21st, is "Celebrating 21st Century Literacies." From the NCTE Position Statement on 21st Century Literacies, we know that "Twenty-first century readers and writers need to
  • Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
  • Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
  • Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts
  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments"
There will certainly be authors and presenters at the conference whose topics deal with the tools of technology, multi-media texts, and information management. Just as important, there will be a focus on relationships, cross-cultural collaboration, and the global community.

We hope you'll consider joining us for the day on February 20 at the Dublin Literacy Conference. You can find registration information here.

How To Build Your Own Country
by Valerie Wyatt
illustrated by Fred Rix
Kids Can Press, 2009

As it turns out, there are just three simple steps to building your own country: 1. Stake our your identity, 2. Run the country, and 3. Meet the Neighbors.

Author Valerie Wyatt leads the reader through the details of these three easy steps with lots of humor (the example country is Bathmatia, with a population of 3 [including dog] and a capital city of Lintbourg) and plenty of real-world examples, such as the annexation of East Timor by Indonesia in 1975 and the motto of the African countries of Chad and Burundi ("Unity, Work, Progress.") There's a template for creating your new country's passport, and for writing a National Anthem (to the tune of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm"). Since you're going to have to set up a government, you might as well learn about a few of the most common forms, and in the likely event that you choose a democracy, you can find out about holding elections, writing a constitution, making laws and money, and serving your citizens.

You probably have to teach a unit on government at some point during the year, right? Why not grab a copy of this book and see how much your students can learn by creating their own countries!

1 comment:

  1. As a children's author, I have been attending the Dubin Literacy Conference for years. I go 1) to be inspired by my fellow authors, and 2) to hear about what's happening in the schools--the joys and concerns that the educators share. It is always a day well spent!

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