BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Kindergarten Day USA and China by Trish Marx and Ellen B. Senisi

Kindergarten Day USA and ChinaHere’s some flip-flop reading fun in honor of my little nephew’s birthday today – which makes him old enough to start preK next month … [The shock, the shock! Time is whooshing by too quickly for sure!]

“There is an old saying in the United States of America, ‘If you dig a hole deep enough, you’ll reach China,'” begins this colorful story-in-photographs about two kindergarten classes, on two sides of the world, in exact opposite time zones (separated by 12 hours). The “Flip-Me-Over” presentation is perfect for this look at how kids in two very different countries go to school every day.

At Zoller Elementary School in Schenectady, New York, the children are welcomed with big hugs. They eat, they draw, are told to eat their carrots during lunch, but get to celebrate a birthday with frosty cupcakes. They can use their “loud voice” at recess, but must remember to use their “soft voice indoors.” Problems sometime cause a few tears, but teachers are always around to make things better. And they learn to make friends while also learning “how to BE a friend.”

Flip the book over, and as the American children go to bed, the kids in China are arriving at The Little Oak Children’s House. The lao shi, or teacher, is also ready with hugs as the children arrive. The kids practice reading Chinese, while the lao shi also reads to them in English. They also make pictures, have lunch (with chopsticks), and eat cake in celebration of someone’s sheng ri, or birthday. Sometimes sharing during playtime on the playground doesn’t always happen, but the lao shi is there to help. Inside, sharing with peng you, or friends, makes for special times.

Using a hand-colored clock  in the right corner of each spread page, author Trish Marx cleverly marks the passing of the school day, on both sides of the world. Photographer Ellen Sinisi deftly catches the children in moments of constant motion, bringing to life their bustling activities, their celebrations, their occasional conflicts, and their many beaming smiles. Either way you flip the book, the kids everywhere are pretty much the same … laughing and crying, and everything in between.

Readers: Children

Published: 2010


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