Meghan's Reviews > Material World: A Global Family Portrait

Material World by Peter Menzel
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's review
Aug 11, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: coffeetable-books, education, nonfic-stories, social-concens

Although this book is a bit dated (from 1994), it singlehandledly explained so many concepts to my kids that it's value can't be underestimated.

There are a number of countries (30?) portrayed in this book. Each country features an average income family, many photographs of the family, explanations about their daily life, and tidbits about their income, life, and dreams.

It is a wonderful resource, and really taught all of us (me included) to appreciate what we have, to appreciate different cultures for their own value, and to see these families- so diverse, with lives completely alien to us- as so very like us as well.

What particularly struck me when reading this book was the smiles on the faces of the very poorest families, and the stressed out looks on the faces of the people who had much much more. Although technically it is a book about material possessions (and what that means to different people), I came away feeling that those things really mean less than nothing, that the lives of these people are in their stories and their faces, and that we Americans worry far too much about having the latest of everything.

A wonderful, beautiful, haunting book.
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