Our Book of the Month for November is Children of the World (Art in All of Us / Universe Publishing, 2011), a superbly presented tour of the world through the eyes of children from each of the 192 countries featured. The book’s compilers, photographers Anthony Asael and Stéphanie Rabemiafara, visited schools as a project within their Art in All of Us non-profit organisation, and this resulting book features their own stunning photographs and a breath-taking array of children’s artwork and poetry.
All the poems are shown in their original, often hand-written presentation, with a typed English translation/transcription. They offer insight into the culture and major landmarks etc. of each country, and the children’s love for and pride in their homelands shines through. As I said in my recent review, “The poems especially offer amazing potential for empathy and peace – particularly when comparing the children’s voices with political concerns and conflict around the globe.” You can read the whole review here – I just want to highlight a few quotations from the poetry for this week’s Poetry Friday, turning to pages pretty much at random, because it’s so hard to choose…:
Bagirova Nilufar, aged 10, writing about Azerbaijan:
Our motherland is like a mother to us
Our mother is like motherland to us
Both are venerable
For the love of Azerbaijan
When there are no battles
The people is happy
When there are no battles
everyone is delighted [...]
Pierrre Bréchel Chéry, aged 10, writing about Haiti:
[...] I shall always return to your feet
Even when I go very far away
To come and praise
The sweetness of your plains.
Dear Haiti I love you
Your fresh mountains
Sweetening our nights [...]
Shi Yong, aged 9, about Malaysia:
[...]Food in Malaysia is very delicious,
Some food is nutritious.
Satay, nasi lemak, curry noodles, and curry fishes,
These are the most popular dishes. [...]
Marie Williams, 13, writing about Vanuatu:
Vanuatu, the Untouched Paradise
Vanuatu is one of the countries in the Pacific Islands
The islands are green as a frog
There is no war and starvation
People live peacefully,
you can hear laughter of children
And a friendly smile from people
Everywhere you go.
We claim ourselves to be Ni-Vans with black skin
And have strong and healthy bodies
That’s why we keep our tradition and culture alive.
Vanuatu, we will never give up on you
Like in our motto it says, “In God we stand.”
Children of the World is a joyous tribute to the world’s children and makes inspring reading, both for children and indeed adults.