BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

If America Were a Village: A Book about the People of the United States by David J. Smith, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong

If America Were a VillageUsing the same simple metaphor he used in his previous bestselling If the World Were a Village, educational consultant David J. Smith presents America as a village of 100 (a far less intimidating number than the 306 million we’ve become!) to help kids (and anyone else) better understand just who Americans are and the lives that we’re living.

“Let’s enter the village and meet the people,” Smith beckons in this fabulous addition to any bookshelf. Within our 100-strong village, 13 of us are foreign-born, 75 are white (which includes Latinos), 12 are black, one is Native American, four are Asian (like me!), and eight consider themselves of some other race or a mixture of races (like my kids!).

Most of us – 80! – live in the cities and suburbs. We have all sorts of different families – 20 families have two parents, 7 have a single parent, 10 live alone, and 14 live with one or more people who aren’t related. While 82 Americans consider themselves Christian, only 40 attend a religious service every week. Out in the world made up also of 100 people, only 32 are Christian while 20 are Muslim, 13 are Hindu, 11 have folk religions, six are Buddhist, two practice other global religions, one is Jewish, and 15 have no religion.

Only five people have more than half of all the wealth in America, while the 60 poorest share only about 4% of the country’s wealth! But Americans sure own a lot of stuff: 81 have cars, 73 have cells phones, and 74 have TVs! We use more energy than any other country in the world (no surprise with all that STUFF). With all that consumption, we’re only 40th in life expectancy in the world. In this land of plenty, 65 of us are overweight! We’re busting at our seams – by 2050, our 306 million is expected to grow to 419 million!

Tidbit: This just in … School Library Journal blog, A Fuse #8 Production, includes a link to this posting on this blog. How small world is that? We’re all getting so very interconnected!

Readers: Children, Middle Grade

Published: 2009



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