Truckee Library: Your window to the world |

Truckee Library: Your window to the world

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Did you know that on Oct. 31, 2011, the 7 billionth person on earth is projected to be born? Not surprisingly, China and India are the most populous countries on our globe, with populations of 1.3 billion and 1.2 billion, respectively. The United States is a distant third, with 310 million inhabitants. Another interesting fact is if you packed the worldand#8217;s population in at the same density of New York City, we would all fit inside the state of Texas.

With more than 7 billion people on this planet, itand#8217;s difficult to grasp what it really means. But what if we picture the world as global village of just 100 people? That is what David J. Smith has done with one of my favorite non-fiction picture books, and#8220;If the World Were a Village: A Book About the Worldand#8217;s People.and#8221; In this village, 22 people speak with a Chinese dialect, 20 earn less than a dollar a day, 17 cannot read or write, 60 are always hungry, 24 have a television in their homes, and only seven own a computer. Smithand#8217;s book details who we are, how we live, how fast we are growing, what languages we speak, what religions we practice and more, for audiences of all ages. While the book currently in the Truckee Libraryand#8217;s collection was published in 2002, the 2011 edition with updated numbers will be on the shelf soon. My guess is that more than seven will own a computer in 2011!

Other great books that provide a global perspective and cross-cultural reality check to children (of all ages) available at the Truckee Library include and#8220;Material World: A Global Family Portrait,and#8221; and and#8220;What the World Eats.and#8221;

and#8220;Material Worldand#8221; provides a fascinating look at the material possessions of families throughout the world. Sixteen of the worldand#8217;s foremost photographers traveled to 30 nations around the globe to live for a week with families that are statistically average for that nation. At the end of each visit, the families agreed to have the photographers move the contents of their houses outside in order to create visible representations of their relative standards of living. The dirt house and few possessions of Mali residents contrast with the four cars, 45-foot long sofa, and 12-plus oriental carpets lined up outside the luxury home of a family from Kuwait. Each chapter includes the original spread of possessions, statistics about each family and country, as well as more pictures of daily life and some observations by the photographer. and#8220;Material Worldand#8221; puts a human face on the issues of population, environment, social justice and consumption. While this book was first published 15 years ago and poses the question of whether all 5 billion of us can have all the things we want, its message resonates even more today, as we hit the 7 billion mark.-

Ten years later, the same photographer, Peter Menzel and author-journalist Faith Dand#8217;Alusio produced the similar works of and#8220;What the World Eatsand#8221; (childrenand#8217;s version) and and#8220;Hungry Planetand#8221; (adult version). The authors visited 25 families in 21 countries to observe and photograph what they eat during the course of one week. The foods dished up ranged from hunted seal and spit-roasted guinea pig to U.N.-rationed grains and gallons of Coca-Cola. Among the families, we meet the Mellanders, a German household of five who enjoy cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants, and beef roulades, and whose weekly food expenses amount to $500. We also encounter the Natomos of Mali, a family of one husband, his two wives, and their nine children, whose corn and millet-based diet costs $26.39 weekly.

While we are all extremely fortunate to be living and/or raising our children in one of the most beautiful places on earth, itand#8217;s always good to get a glimpse of how the rest of the world lives. Check out these and other titles like them at the Truckee Library, your window to the worldand#8230;

Truckee Library, 10031 Levon Ave., 582-7846,

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