On Being Thankful: a Little Perspective

Is being thankful a relative idea? Can we truly be thankful for what we have? This Thanksgiving, I want to share two books with you that compare families from all over the world and how much food they can afford each week, as well as the amount of material belongings they have in their homes. Share these books with your students and start a dialogue about thankfulness and what it really means.

I am of the opinion that we here in the US and Canada (and many other nations, as well, of course) have pretty much won the population lottery. We were lucky to be born here where most of us don’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from or if our child is going to die of malaria. Most of the world doesn’t have it so easy. And most of us, and our children, totally take it for granted.

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So, with Thanksgiving approaching, some perspective might be a nice change. Instead of, or in addition to, learning about the Pilgrims and the Indians (again), what if we also looked at what other people around the world eat? One really great way to do that is to use the book What the World Eats by Faith D’Aluiso, with amazing photos by Peter Manzel. Basically, the book features 25 families from different places around the world. Each family has been photographed with the food they typically eat in one week. There is also information on the country they are from, average incomes, etc. You can find a slide show of photos from the book here.Here is what the authors have to say about sharing this book with children:

It’s interesting to watch children with this book in their hands. It doesn’t require being read from front to back, and they don’t approach it in that manner anyway; they’re drawn in by the food portraits and begin immediately to compare themselves to what they see. Afterward they go back to fill in information. What the World Eats is meant to get kids thinking about the world around them but also about the food on their own plates. The U.S. Center for Disease Control reports that one in every three children born in the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes at some point during their life and that more than 60 percent of American adults, and 30 percent of children, are overweight or obese. This is one of the richest, most powerful countries on the planet; we are eating ourselves to death, but we can do something about it if we understand the problems. This book aids that understanding. – quoted from Amazon
A nice follow up is Material World: A Global Family Portrait, again by Peter Manzel.This time families from around the world are photographed with everything they own assembled outside their dwelling.


* Minds in Bloom, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.

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