Regional focus: The Whole Wide World
Author and Illustrator: Clotilde Perrin
Genre: children’s literature
It’s 9:00 am on a Sunday morning in Brussels, Belgium and the colors from my window have only now changed from black to gray. My daughters are preparing for the cold outside as they layer their sleepy, warm, bodies in tights, pants, shirts, sweaters, scarves, thick socks and mittens. Soon, they will journey to the neighborhood bakery for fresh croissants and petit pain au chocolat which they will bring back to the apartment in a paper bag. In the meantime, I’ll heat milk for hot chocolate, and water for black tea.
We are 7 hours earlier than our friends in Guatemala, three hours earlier that our friends in Brazil, 9 hours earlier than our family in California and 4.5 hours behind our friends in India! These are the time zones I have saved on the world clock app on my iPhone. Nearly every day my youngest child Chloe, will ask about her friends in various places around the world, and she will wonder where they are and what they are doing at the same exact moment. When she is on the metro at 4:00 PM in Brussels, her best friend Lupita in Guatemala might be making tortillas with her mom where its 10:00 AM and her friend Khushi in the Indian Himalayas might be crushing cardamom and ginger to make a spicy cup of chai tea to keep her warm where it’s 8:30 PM. Chloe and I will marvel over the idea that not only the hour changes according to time zone, but also the daily activities of children around the world change. Her morning commute to school in Guatemala which includes a tuc-tuc, a boat, and a walk looks very different from her Belgian cousin’s commute. Nell rides her bike to school every morning.
As an adult I continue to be mesmerized by the mini worlds within our big world. The act of boarding a plane in Central America and exiting an airport in Europe 15 hours later still feels like a feat of the future, a science fiction fantasy. I imagine the magic of travel is all the more potent for the child mind.
In Clotilde Perrin’s whimsical book, At the Same Moment Around the World, we peek into the lives of individuals around the globe and catch a glimpse of the lives of Benedict drinking a cup of hot chocolate in France, Mitko catching the school bus in Bulgaria, and Lilu enjoying lunch on a Himalayan mountain. Clotilde Perrin takes readers eastward from the Greenwich meridian, from day to night, with each page portraying one of (the original) 24 time zones.
What I love:
- Time zones are fascinating and confusing for children and adults alike. “At the Same Moment Around the World” provides a fun and informative platform to teach children about the topic.
- Perrin’s illustrations are whimsical and magical.
- “At the Same Moment Around the World” creates a platform for young readers to learn about children in other countries and cultures.
Themes: culture, time zones, diversity
- Do you have friends who live in countries different from your own? What do you think they are doing in this moment?
- How is it possible that it might be day in one country and night in another?
- What would snapshots of your day in different moments look like (7:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 4:00 PM)?
- Draw a snapshot of your day at a particular hour. Write text to describe your picture. For example: At 9:00 AM, Chloe walks to the bakery to buy fresh croissants for her family.
- Look at a world map or globe. Locate the countries where the children mentioned in the story live.
- Learn about the day in the life of a child from a specific country. Use the following resources to help guide you:
- Learn about the Earth’s rotation and the concept of day and night with this simple experiment.