529_Regina's Reviews > If America Were a Village: A Book about the People of the United States

If America Were a Village by David J.  Smith
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's review
May 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: informational-text
Read on May 05, 2012

If America Were a Village
A Book about the People of the United States
by: David J. Smith, Illus. by Shelagh Armstrong
Intermediate and up Kids Can Press (2009) 32p.
ISBN-10: 1554533449 $12.89

"Each person in this village of 100 will represent more than 3 million Americans in the real world."

David Smith takes the 306 million people living in America and describes them in the context of 100 people living in the village of America. This picture book is more of a resource than it is a story. It doesn't read as a narrative but as expository text relaying information about the religions, economy, ethnicity, language , etc. of the people of the Village of America. The illustrations are beautifully done and support the sentiment of the text. However a novice reader could not use the illustrations to assist in their understanding of the text.

While the information is useful, I believe it is a challenging text to use in the classroom setting. You could read this book with children in the 3rd grade through 12th. I believe it has a place at a wide range of levels. However there are some draw backs to the style of writing and "story pattern". Visual and spacial learners would have to "see" the numbers as you're reading it. Although 100 is a much smaller number than 306 million, it is still difficult to visualize. The author of the book includes some suggestions in making the text come alive in the last pages of the book. (awesome resource).

In the past, I've used another of David Smith's titles in may class IF THE WORLD WERE A VILLAGE. In that lesson I created a power point and used bingo chips to help illustrate the numbers depicted in the text. Even after the lesson, I found it imperative for the students to read the book for themselves. The second reading really brought the idea home

Even after stating all of that, I plan on using this book to begin the year in the fall as an introduction to the modern American society. I will be teaching about the America from the turn of the century to present day. I think this book will be an awesome start.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by 529_allie (new)

529_allie This book seems like a great resource in introducing students to the different cultures and people in the United States. I wonder if small piece of it can be used for the younger grades.

message 2: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Could you help the understanding of younger grades by making the illustrations yourself. I mean bundling together different colored objects like straws to show the numbers. This could be done ahead for all the different subjects.

message 3: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer S Does this book discuss how American is a melting pot of many cultures? I like the idea of numbers being involved...could this be used creatively in a math setting?

message 4: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Brant This book sounds like it would be a great start to teaching kids about the citizens of our country. Even used in the beginning of the year when we are all learning about our students and their cultural backgrounds, we can use this as one of the many resources about how our country is made up of so many unique people. I’m curious; does the book take the races of the 306 million people in the US and put it into the context of if the world were only 100 people? Does it show that of those 100 people, this amount would be Hispanic, this amount Polish, etc.? I think that’d be really interesting to find out. It could give kids a different perspective of how the US is comprised of so many religions and races. I also think that with so many classrooms being diverse, it’s important for students to see beyond the 4 walls of the classroom. In other parts of the country, people live very differently than they do here. Even across towns, people lead very different lives. This sounds like a great book to use, I’m eager to read it.

message 5: by Casey (new)

Casey Strauss Sounds like a fascinating read! Instead of using the book from beginning to end, could you use sections of it with students?

message 6: by A_Olga (new) - added it

A_Olga It is an interesting title with an interesting concept of America as a village. It seems that it follows accuracy one of the Five A's as it provides information that is clear and up to date for students in grades third and up. As I read other reviewer's thoughts on this book they all seem to agree with you on the engaging way in which David Smith teaches kids about data and statistics. This seems like a good book for teaching students about world population in "kid friendly" terms and illustrations. Will mark as as to read on my good reads.

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