Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CitizenKid: One Well

This is the fourth 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 theNCTE 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.

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth
by Rochelle Strauss
illustrated by Rosemary Woods
Kids Can Press, 2007

Of all our natural resources, it is perhaps our water that we take most for granted. At least in our part of the world.

We should remember that there is a finite and discrete amount of water on our planet. The water we have is the same water that has been here for billions of years. We should think of our water as one global well.

This book has short articles with gorgeous, detailed illustrations and fact boxes that tell about the water cycle, how plants and animals need and use water, water as a habitat, and the human impact on the water we share.

This is a great book to share along with...

Ryan and Jimmy: And the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together
by Herb Shoveller
Kids Can Press, first paperback edition 2008

In 1998, a Canadian first grader named Ryan Hreljac learned how difficult it is for people in other parts of the world to get fresh water. His teacher told him it only cost $70 to build a well for an entire village. He went home and asked his parents for the money, but they made him work to earn it. And work he did. One chore at a time, a few dollars at a time, Ryan earned the whole $70.

When he went to deliver his donation, he found out that the $70 would only buy the hand pump; he needed $2000 for the whole well. That didn't stop Ryan. Between his determination and the ripple effect caused by his story, he built a well in a village in Uganda. He also became friends with Jimmy, a boy from the village, visited the village, and went to school there for a day.

Ryan's family remained close to Jimmy even during a resurgence of the rebel war in Uganda. They managed to get Jimmy a flight out and a visa to visit Canada so that he could attend a conference with Ryan and tell the story of the well in his village. While he was in Canada, the fighting in Uganda got worse and he applied for and received refugee status. First, Ryan's well changed his life, and then Ryan's family accepted him as their fourth son, giving him a chance at a kind of life he never even dreamed existed when he lived in Uganda.

This book is further proof that anyone, even children, can make the world a better place, one small change at a time.

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