Nine O’ Clock Lullaby

Last summer, I had the opportunity to travel to India with my eldest daughter, Emma.  On our journey from Guatemala, we stopped in New York and Dubai, and passed through  many time zones.  When we finally arrived at our destination, we were 11.5 hours ahead of our friends and family back home (yes, India is one of the few countries that has a .5 hour change in time).  Emma and I marveled at the concept of her sister preparing for  the day to begin as we were putting on pajamas .  We wondered what her grandmother in Belgium was doing when is was 9:00 PM in India, and what her cousins in California were up to as we gazed at the stars over the Himalayas.  When it’s 9:00 PM in Guatemala, what time is it in your home?

Regional focus:  The Whole Wide World

Author:  Marilyn Singer

Illustrator: Frane Lessac

Genre:  children’s literature

Discover what is happening around the world in different time zones. A young girl learns that when it′s 9 P.M. in Brooklyn, it′s 10 P.M. in Puerto Rico, and midnight on the mid-Atlantic. Far from the busyness of New York traffic, the Puerto Rican night is filled with conga music, sweet rice, and fruit ice. In India, villagers begin their morning chores as well… ropes squeak, buckets splash, and bracelets jangle. Meanwhile, in Australia, a sly kookaburra is ready for a noontime feast.

What I love:

  • A great book to explore the concept of time zones, which is abstract for children.
  • The rhyming in the book is fun to read.
  • Illustrations are bright and colorful.

Themes: world exploration, time zones, culture

Discussion:

  • How can it be day in some countries and night in others at the same moment?
  • Are there any countries from the story that you would like to visit? Why?
  • What does 9:00 PM at night look like in your house?

Connections:

  • Make a time book and investigate what might be happening in four different countries at one particular time. Illustrate or write about what scenes might be occurring in the different countries.
  • Explore, what does breakfast look like in your country and in another country?
  • Make your own clock with a paper plate. Talk with a friend about what you do at different times of the day.
  • Look at a world map. Predict what time it is in different regions of the world.

The Golden Rule

When I read the current events of our world, I often feel overwhelmed by the challenges facing us as a global community. As an early childhood educator, I wonder, “what if our world leaders were required to return to kindergarten and learn the empathy basics, like The Golden Rule?” I don’t mean to simplify politics and struggles that run deep in history, but what if… Today I celebrate a timeless world classic about one simple rule.

Regional focus:  The Whole Wide World

Author:  Ilene Cooper

Illustrator: Gabi Swiatkowska

Genre:  Children’s literature

This book is a gentle reminder of a timeless rule for parent and child, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Everyone knows a version of the Golden Rule. But what does it really mean? And how do you follow it? In this simple yet profound book, a grandfather explains to his grandson that the Golden Rule means you “treat people the way you would like to be treated. It’s golden because it’s so valuable, and a way of living your life that’s so simple, it shines.” Though it may be a simple rule, it isn’t easy to follow. Fortunately, following the Golden Rule is something everyone can do, which means that every person-old or young, rich or poor-can be a part of making the world a better place.

What I love:

  • The book has gorgeous and intriguing illustrations.
  • The book uses child appropriate language and stories to explore a challenging theme.
  • The story is a useful teaching tool for teachers with diverse student groups.
  • The Golden Rule can be used as a powerful introduction to exploring delicate current world events.

Themes: values, world culture, compassion, empathy

Discussion:

  • In your own words, describe the golden rule.
  • Have you recently practiced the golden rule? When? Why?
  • Have you recently seen an adult practicing the golden role? Who? When?  Why?

Connections:

  • Make a collage using recycled newspapers and magazines of people practicing the golden rule.
  • Ask adult friends to share world stories from history of people practicing the golden rule.
  • Create a play/theater of characters practicing the golden rule.