Book Review, Education, Family Fun

‘Our World’ board book series opens the door to global culture from birth

Created by authors and illustrators from countries such as Ethiopia and Japan, each book in the ‘Our World' series, from prize-winning publisher Barefoot Books, includes relatable topics that illustrate a day in the life in each country, pronunciation guides to support basic language learning, and end notes that dig deeper into cultural details.

In April 2024, four new books will join the series: Ukraine, Colombia, Ireland, and Kenya. Currently available are Our World: Brazil, Australia, Argentina, China, Egypt, Japan, Italy, Ethiopia, Mexico, France, Greece, and India.

Research shows that without thoughtful adult intervention, children develop stereotypes. As early childhood anti-bias education expert and human development faculty member at Pacific Oaks College, Louise Derman-Sparks, explains: "By the age of two, children begin absorbing socially prevailing stereotypes, attitudes and biases about themselves and people different from themselves. They begin to show discomfort or fear or even dislike toward a person with a different skin colour, different language or with a physical disability."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concurs: "Although the brain continues to develop and change into adulthood, the first eight years can build a foundation for future learning, health, and life success. How the brain grows is strongly affected by the child's experiences with other people and the world." For genuine authenticity, authors and illustrators of the ‘Our World' series draw on their lived experiences to create stories that immerse readers in the daily life in each country. With text and artwork developed specifically for babies and toddlers, this series is a "just-right introduction to global learning".

Thirty years, 1000 titles and 30 million books, after the creation of Barefoot Books by two mothers, Nancy Traversy and Tessa Strickland, the Our World series continues the founding mission: to create diverse, representative, and inclusive books that open children's hearts, minds, and worlds. Nancy Traversy, CEO and Co-Founder of Barefoot Books, believes that the Our World series are typical of the high levels of creativity and innovation seen from independent publishers: "Diverse and inclusive books are a vital and welcome part of children's lives. As adults - teachers, librarians, parents and carers - it's our role to make sure children receive and understand the messages of these books with open hearts and clear minds."

"The Our World series continues to pack quite a bit of culture for the youngest readers into an easy-to-handle board book." - Booklist

"Armchair travelling for the youngest, or a way for them to learn about faraway relatives and new words." - School Library Journal @BarefootBooks

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