This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World Book Poster Image
Fun, relatable look at kids' daily lives around globe.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational value

Excellent look at different cultures; chock-full of information about specifics of kids' lives in seven very disparate countries: Italy, Japan, Peru, Uganda, Russia, India, and Iran. Shows different forms of writing with different alphabets and characters. Includes glossary of foreign concepts and words -- for instance, names of foods. Map of world on endpapers.

Positive messages

All of us around the globe do the same things, though we may do them differently. Our commonalities unite us. Cultural differences are interesting and it's fun to learn about them. Families all over the globe care about their kids.

Positive role models & representations

The families are all loving and supportive. All the kids are engaged at school and help their families but also like to play and enjoy themselves.

Violence & scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World, by Matt Lamothe, compares the daily lives of seven actual kids from around the globe. All the kids get dressed for school, eat breakfast, travel to school, study, help their families -- and play! -- though each does so differently, giving readers a fun taste of cultural differences and national flavors. Lamothe researched all the kids and includes photos of the actual families. The concept of the book is kid-friendly and engaging, and the underlying message is that we're more alike than different.

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What's the story?

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT: ONE DAY IN THE LIVES OF SEVEN KIDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD describes the daily lives of seven real kids from various countries across the globe: Italy, Japan, Peru, Uganda, Russia, India, and Iran. It opens with their portraits and portraits of their families and homes, then breaks down the specifics of each kid's day: what they eat, how they get to school, what they study, how they play, their chores, where they sleep. The book ends with a picture of the night sky, implying that no matter how different our lives are, we all live under the same sky. There are photographs of the actual families featured and a glossary defining and explaining foreign words.

Is it any good?

The genius of this book is that it takes what’s common about kids' experiences -- school, chores, eating, playing -- and details the specifics, making what's foreign fun and relatable. This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World serves up cultural information in interesting and manageable chunks. The overarching message of cultural tolerance is never hammered home directly but underlies all art and text.

The art, created digitally from photographs, can sometimes look a bit static or mechanical, but the kids and the details of their activities and lives are completely engaging. There's so much juicy information -- the family in India sleeps together on a huge bed, the boy from Italy gets to visit the forest on school trips, the girl from Uganda passes groves of eucalyptus and banana trees each morning as she walks to school -- that the book will warrant reading and rereading. This educational and highly entertaining book is an excellent choice for families to talk about and share.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about all the daily routines in This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World. What new information did you learn, and what interested you the most?

  • For each page or category, draw a picture and write a short paragraph about yourself. What do you do that’s similar? What do you do that's different?

  • Why do you think the author/illustrator ended the book not with a picture of the kids but with the line "This is my night sky" and an illustration of the moon and stars?

Book details

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