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What the World Eats Hardcover – August 1, 2008

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Book Description

Every day, millions of families around the world gather--at the table or on the floor, in a house or outdoors--to eat together. Ever wondered what a typical meal is like on the other side of the world? Or next door? Cultural geographers Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio visited twenty-five families in twenty-one countries to create this fascinating look at what people around the world eat in a week. Meet a family that spends long hours hunting for seal and fish together; a family that raises and eats guinea pigs; a family that drinks six gallons of Coca-Cola a week.

In addition to profiles of each family, What the World Eats includes photo galleries and illustrated charts about fast food, safe water, life expectancy, literacy rates, and more!

Each family's profile features:
* Full-color photographs, including each family posing with the food consumed in a week.
* Information about each family's food, including cost and quantity.
* A world map showing where each family lives.
* Facts about that country, including population, currency, average income, and more.

This enthralling glimpse into cultural similarities and differences is at once a striking photographic essay and an essential study in nutrition and the global marketplace.

A Letter From the Authors

Traveling to a country to research what people eat is a fabulous way toFaith D'Aluisio & Peter Menzel understand it. Even better is traveling to a lot of countries to compare and contrast what people eat and why. That's what we did in What the World Eats. The centerpiece of our coverage in each of 21 countries is a photographic portrait of a family with one week's worth of food. One of the best parts of the book are the grocery lists that we compiled to show exactly what each of our families were buying. We list brand names and food amounts as well, as it's interesting to see how certain brands are incredibly well-traveled.

In some countries we covered more than one family. In China, for instance, we included both a rural farming family, the Cuis, and an urban one, the Dongs, who live in Bejing. The two families' eating habits are very different. The Dongs shop in a modern supermarket for the same types of foods that one might find in the United States, and use convenience foods. The Dongs eat in restaurants occasionally and their son loves KFC. The Cuis, conversely, have never tasted fast food, and always eat at home. They buy their food from small shops and outdoor markets as the Dongs used to before China began to modernize. If you look at both of their photographs, both have fresh foods in abundance, but there are many branded items on the Dong's table, and only one in the Cui's week's worth of food. The Dong's table looks more like that of one of our three American families covered in the book.

In every chapter we include details of our discussions with the families about their lives and circumstances. We traveled to a refugee camp in Chad to spend time with sixteen-year-old Abdel Karim Aboubakar and his mother and siblings.The Aboubakar's are one of thousands of Sudanese families from Darfur displaced by the genocide taking place in their home country. They escaped over the border to avoid being killed and now live in refugee tent cities. His family's food consists of grain porridge, some dried vegetables, and water—all supplied by the United Nations and its member countries.

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 in 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.

Faith D'Aluisio & Peter Menzel

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Adapted from last year's Hungry Planet, this brilliantly executed work visits 25 families in 21 countries around the world. Each family is photographed surrounded by a week's worth of food and groceries, which Menzel and D'Aluisio use as a way of investigating not only different cultures' diets and standard of living but also the impact of globalization: why doesn't abundance bring better health, instead of increased occurrences of diabetes and similar diseases? These points are made lightly: delivered almost conversationally, the main narrative presents friendly, multigenerational portraits of each family, with meals and food preparation an avenue toward understanding their hopes and struggles. A wealth of supporting information—lush color photographs, family recipes, maps, sidebars, etc.—surrounds the text (superb design accomplishes this job harmoniously) and implies questions about global food supplies. Pictures of subsistence farmers in Ecuador cultivating potatoes from mountainous soil form sharp contrasts with those of supermarkets in a newly Westernized Poland. Fact boxes for each country tabulate revealing statistics, among them the percentage of the population living on less than $2 per day (47% in China, where the average daily caloric intake is nonetheless 2,930 per person); the percentage with diabetes; number of KFC franchises. Engrossing and certain to stimulate. All ages. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 1150L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Tricycle Press (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582462461
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582462462
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 0.7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Lisa L. Philpotts on December 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is the kid's version of Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. It has the same photos and similar text to the adult version, so if you've read Hungry Planet you don't need to pick this one up. If you're shopping for an adult reader or an older teen, pick Hungry Planet up instead of this one. They are very, very similar.

The layout is the same as Hungry Planet: A photo of a family with a week's worth of groceries, a text list of their grocery bill, and a passage discussing the role of food in their lives. Sprinkled throughout the book are recipes from the featured families.The highlight of this book for me were all the beautiful photos. It's certainly pretty enough to be a "coffee table book."

All in all, this book is food writing, cookery, travel writing, and a sociological study all rolled into one. Half a star off for some typological errors. A visually appealing book, wonderful for a child curious about the world and its people.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Kat on September 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After seeing it mentioned in a magazine article, I got this book from our local library. It is nothing short of amazing. Not only do I find it interesting but all three of my children - ages 9, 12 and 16 - have picked it up on their own to read and share with visiting friends. I'm actually coming to Amazon right now to buy it as a Christmas gift for all my relatives and one for our school library. It's beautifully photographed and very interesting. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on August 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What the World Eats may have a simple premise, but its images and lessons are as sophisticated as they are influential. As its premise, the book offers a glimpse of the food expenditures and eating habits of twenty-five households in twenty-one countries of different degrees of economic development around the world. Menzel and D'Aluisio photographed and observed each household as it acquired one week's worth of food and prepared meals. The book clearly communicates the extent to which families in lower-income countries rely mostly on grains and produce, while higher incomes lead to the addition of meats, dairy, sugar, fats, and processed foods and beverages to the diet. Accompanying these dietary changes along the income scale are large increases in the incidence of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

The stunning photographs, detailed text descriptions, informative charts, and strategic visual displays all contribute to important lessons that are thoroughly integrated into a format that will engross adults and children alike. The reader is left better informed not only about the enormous variation among the world's people in what they eat, but also in their use of time and in their overall standard of living. This knowledge can make us better equipped to improve our food choices, reduce food waste, and think about productive ways to fight hunger globally.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Liaglynn on January 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a homeschooling mom to 5, we have this and the Material World book with the curriculum guides and power point presentations that open up years of creative writing and social studies and geography work.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Laksmi on February 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I agree with the reviewer that said to get Hungry Planet instead if it's for older kids. But this version makes the material more accessible for younger children. Food offers a concrete way to relate to other cultures. The photos of families with a week's worth of groceries bring out cultural differences and make differences in affluence vivid and explicit. When my six-year-old daughter saw the photo of one family from a refugee camp with their meager sacks of food--in dramatic contrast to the abundant array of colorful packaged foods surrounding the families of developed countries--she asked, bewildered, "why do they have so little?" (Um, do you want the short answer to that, or the long answer?) There are so many ways to compare the photos and think about differences in diet. Every photo seems to tell many stories, often surprising. The book helps children understand poverty, malnutrition, and the industrial food system, but also invites them to marvel at the fascinating variety of food worldwide, and develop curiosity about other cultures.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sandy Lynn on June 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We got this book for our 5th grader for Christmas and she absolutely loves it. She doesn't read it cover to cover but picks it up regularly, reads about a few families, and tells us about the amazing facts that she has learned about life in other countries. Both fascinating and educational for kids. We highly recommend this book for middle school-aged children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David's Wife on July 14, 2015
Format: Hardcover
What a lovely and fascinating book! I had seen posters of the photos from the book of each family with their week's worth of food in Social Studies classrooms, so when I saw the book, I wanted to read it. The book has photos of families from 21 different countries along with a week's worth of food that their family eats and statistics including the cost of the food and facts about each country. There are additional facts and photos and graphs of things like annual meat consumption and obesity rates. The book is really quite interesting and well done.
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Format: Hardcover
"What the World Eats" is a great book for children, teens, and adults. This book helps us understand and gain knowledge about other countries' foods in our world. It is a good compare and contrast from where you live to other places near and far. In the book, there are 25 families from 21 different countries that share their weekly eating habits. Each family includes the amount of money in their countries money and in US dollars that they spend a week on food. It also lists out the amount of food they buy a week from each of the different food groups such as dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables, etc. This book lists some facts about the country such as population and health related statistics. Another cool aspect of this book is with each country and family, there is a family recipe. You too can get a taste of that country in your own home!

This book is also a great educational device for the classroom. According to the NCTM standards, social studies teachers should teach their students about culture and culture diversity. This book is perfect for learning about other cultures and comparing them to your own. It includes 21 different countries from all around. It is important for students to learn about different cultures because each of us comes from a different cultural background ourselves. We can become more familiar and except these culture diversities when we know and understand more about them. Another important social studies subject matter that the NCTM standards state that teachers should focus on is people, places, and environments. This book touches on people, places, and environments because it takes a family or two from each country and shares their eat habits in their immediate family and well as the traditional foods of their country.
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