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I Am the World Hardcover – July 9, 2013


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I Am the World + I Am America + My People (Coretta Scott King Award - Illustrator Winner Title(s))
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3-In this slim volume, photography and verse come together to present a youthful showcase of diversity, beauty, strength, and joy. Lush and ethereal color imagery brings deep meaning to the simple, rhythmic lines. Each page explores what makes us who we are, from heritage ("I am the blood of emperors") to food ("I am the snap in biscotti") to clothing ("I am the pleat of the Highland kilts") to music ("I am the clickety-clack-clack of castanets in flamenco") and language, tying everything together to make a unique world. The book ends with a glossary defining cultural terms presented throughout the book. A powerful jumping-off point for children beginning to study their own culture and those of the youngsters around them.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

This lyrical salute to the world’s children begins, “I am the world. I am strong. I am the spirit of generations gone.” Touching on the diversity of respected historical figures, geographical areas, ethnic foods and clothing, and greetings in several languages, the poem concludes, “I am the world and the world is me.” The ebullient lines are nearly as charming as the appealing, full-color portraits of children that grace each verse. Words and photographs showcase and honor cultural differences yet avoid stereotypes. Children are the focus of each page except for those mentioning food, where images of food and text crowd the page and obscure the handsome young faces. Still, this exuberant celebration of the world’s children will enhance primary multicultural units and inspire children to express their own thoughts through words and pictures. Grades K-3. --Linda Perkins
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (July 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442423021
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442423022
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #711,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles R. Smith Jr. is an award-winning children's book author, photographer and poet with over thirty books to his credit. His awards include a Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration for his photographs accompanying the Langston Hughes poem, "My People" and a Coretta Scott King Honor Author Award for his biography on Muhammad Ali, "Twelve Rounds to Glory." Many of his books have also garnered reluctant reader awards, proving that kids that don't like to read, do like to read his books.

Charles combines his passions of writing and photography with a variety of subjects that spark his interest. Even though his early books such as "Rimshots", "Hoop Kings" and "Hoop Queens focus on basketball, Charles has shown the ability to apply his talents to a variety of subjects, including diversity with "I Am America" and "I Am the World", Greek mythology with "The Mighty 12", how slaves built the White House with "Brick by Brick" and Negro League baseball with "Stars in the Shadows" to name a few. His poetry has also been used to paint unique biographical portraits of personal heroes such as the aforementioned Ali, boxer Jack Johnson and soon, guitarist Jimi Hendrix.

Of the distinctive niche Charles fills with his books, he notes, "I want to show students, particularly boys, that there are many ways to pursue their interests, no matter what they may be."

To hear excerpts from his books and learn more about Charles R. Smith Jr, visit his website at www.charlesrsmithjr.com

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Jarvey on August 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i Am the World is an amazing tribute to children around the world. Charles A Smith Jr. incorporates photographs with his poetic presentation of what children have in common despite their superficial differences. A book that should be in every elementary school media center. Just wonderful.
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Format: Hardcover
From award-winning poet and photographer Charles Smith, Jr. comes a book which celebrates the children of the world through poetry and photography. While the poetry is average and the design is sometimes random, the photos are bold and lavish. I also appreciated the handling of diversity. I am the world is a quick and easy read with a positive message, which should please parents and teachers alike.

The prose seems to follow the pattern of one popular type of writing in schools, that of I AM poems. While there’s nothing exceptional about Smith’s verse, his one-liners sometimes rhyme and, when read aloud, have a pleasing beat. Some lines can be read by younger readers: “I am the world, I am strong….” Others are better suited to older readers: “I am the bite in bratwurst. I am the snap in biscotti.” Because I AM poems are studied in school, I am the world will feel familiar to students, and so it can serve as a launching pad for teachers in helping students create their own “I am the world” poems. Moreover, the pro-diversity message in I am the world is perfect. We aren’t just colors, foods, costumes, or language. We’re all of these things combined.

The photos are of strong quality, although the design is sometimes more random. On the first few pages photos are placed on top of a white background, but for the remaining pages they are placed on top of a black background. Sometimes text is average size and other times it’s small or big. While this can be done intentionally for a playful effect or emphasis, that does not seem to be the case here. While it didn’t bother me, and probably won’t bother most young readers, some critics did correctly note that text occasionally obscures the photo it describes. On the plus side, the photos are prominent and for the most part fit the text.
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