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If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People (CitizenKid) Hardcover – March 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Lexile Measure: 710L (What's this?)
  • Series: CitizenKid
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press; First Edition edition (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550747797
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550747799
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 9.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gr. 3-5, younger for reading aloud. To make the idea of a world of 6.2 billion people more understandable, Smith suggests that children imagine the population of the world as a village of just 100 people. That's one person representing 62 million people in the real world. Surprising, even shocking statistics follow--for example, many kids in the U. S. take computers for granted, but only seven people in the global village own one. Each double-page, picture-book spread relates a few consciousness-raising facts about such topics as nationalities, food, language, and religion. With the aid of a calculator, even younger kids can do the math; the tricky part is to get children to really understand the ideas. Armstrong's large acrylic paintings, nice complements to the text, look like stained glass windows, with blocks of intense color outlined in thick black lines. This highly informative book will get kids thinking and asking questions, and it can easily be incorporated into a middle-school social studies curriculum. The endnote suggests related activities for home and classroom. Lauren Peterson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


This highly informative book will get kids thinking and asking questions.

It’s an eye-opener for all.

More About the Author

image: copyright 2009 Susan Lapides
Read about the new edition of "Mapping the World By Heart", and see an introductory video, by pointing your browser to

DAVID J. SMITH is a classroom teacher with over 25 years' experience teaching English, Geography, and Social Studies in grade levels from 4 to 12. He achieved recognition for his unique method of teaching seventh graders to draw maps of the entire world from memory, now published by Fablevision as a highly successful curriculum, "Mapping The World By Heart". In 1992, Smith won the U.S. Department of Education's "A+ For Breaking The Mold" Award for this work. Since 1992, he has been a full-time consultant, providing lectures and workshops on geography and global issues, and on IT issues, to teachers, parents, student groups, and others in the United States, Europe, Africa, South America, Australia, and Asia.

The "Mapping The World By Heart" curriculum directly addresses standard number 2 of the US geography standards, and has achieved phenomenal results in public and private schools throughout the U.S. and in locales as far-flung as Cote D'Ivoire and Japan. It is popular because it works. At the beginning of the school year, students draw maps of the world, and "the results are predictable," said one article about the program; "The maps always show incredible gaps in students' mental images of the world, with the only places included being the places that are real to the students -- where they live, where they've traveled." But at the end of eight months, these same students are able to draw detailed maps that include the names and borders of 190+ countries, with their capitals, mountain ranges, rivers, etc. The technique used is both traditional and up-to-date: lots of memorization, but not the old-fashioned methodology of rote-for-rote's-sake, but rather memorization informed and enriched by the real use of knowledge, study, practice, mnemonics, and games.

Time Magazine, NBC's Today Show, The L.A. Times, and the Associated Press, among others, have acknowledged Smith and the success of his curriculum. Besides the curriculum, Smith has written articles for the New York Times's Education Life section, for The International Educator, for The World Paper, NESA Notes , and Independent School Bulletin.

He has also written five other books -- "If The World Were A Village", which was published in March, 2002, by Kids Can Press in Toronto, and "The CEESA Web-Site Manual" and "Emergency Procedures Handbook for International Schools" were published respectively in 1998 and 2003 by the US State Department.

The sequel to "If The World Were A Village", entitled "If America Were A Village", (isbn 1554533442) was published in August, 2009.

His newest book, "This Child Every Child: A Picture Book For Children About the Rights of Children" (isbn 1554534666), was published in February, 2011.

"If The World Were A Village" (isbn 1550747797) has been widely and favorably reviewed in journals such as Booklist and Horn Book and School Library Journal. It was chosen by the American Booksellers Association as their #1-recommended book on the BookSense 76 Children's list for Spring-Summer, 2002, and Newsweek chose it as one of 10 children's books on their "recommended reading" list in August, 2002. In addition, it won the H.C.Andersen Prize for 2003, the International Reading Association's Children's Book Award for 2003, and was named a Smithsonian "Notable Book of the Year". It has been published in 20 editions, in 17 languages other than English, including Braille.

Besides book visits and assemblies, David offers consultation services, workshops and platform presentations on geography and global awareness for schools and professional organizations.

David was born in the United States, but is a permanent resident of Canada; he and his wife live in North Vancouver, BC.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend it for your classroom book shelf.
Michelle Martin
This children's book easily transcends its genre, bringing meaning and understanding to readers of all ages.
David Walske
The bright, colorful illustrations are a visual delight.
Helen R.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Mastroianni on May 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Over the years IÕve received several forwards of a small essay which reduced the world population of approximately six billion to a more manageable one hundred so that crucial statistics could be more easily understood. Now the original author of this concept,David J. Smith, has really pulled off a neat trick by writing a fascinating book about this representative village of one hundred people and making it interesting to all ages. Although I am a high school history and geography teacher, IÕve also taught first, fifth, and eighth grades and I know that IF THE WORLD WERE A VILLAGE would be popular even with six-year-olds, whether or not they fully grasped the concept. Every adult with whom I have shared the book has been instantly captivated - indeed, IÕve felt bad taking it back. In my freshman geography class I canÕt get through a page without a barrage of questions and comments, and some students have already been inspired to do some research of their own. Our school has ordered a copy for every social studies classroom, and both teachers and parents will appreciate the fact that Mr. Smith, a well-respected teacher and geography consultant , has included a variety of practical geographic activities.
In addition, this book would stand on its own as a work of art; the fabulous illustrations draw the reader in to the village and beautifully enhance the story. IÕve seldom seen such a wonderful marriage of text and illustrations.
ItÕs rare that children have a chance to learn so much vital information in such an entertaining manner - this is a guaranteed best-seller.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Stone on July 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This may be a five-star concept, but the execution leaves much to be desired, particularly in the illustrations. The best that can be said is that the pictures are deeply colored and might make a good stained-glass project. However, the almost uniformly bird's-eye view of this "global village" fails to show much difference between the haves and have-nots, or, really, to illustrate the facts of any given page. We simply see a colorful village from the air... over and over. The very imagery that might make these facts come alive in a child's imagination is missing. Some sense of interaction - this is a village, after all! - would help. Instead of faces, we are given a fly-over. Thus, the facts remain mere lists, and not emotionally compelling.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Evan Loeffler on November 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book as a gift for a friend's child. I left the book on my desk and one of my colleagues leafed through it and was hooked. Before the end of the day the book had been passed through four other interested readers. They all found the book fascinating and informative.
"If the World Were a Village" encourages the reader, regardless of age, to consider the world's population as if it were a village comprised of 100 people. The reader will make discoveries regarding population, ages, religions, literacy, money, and much more. The book ends with what I consider to be the most valuable part of the book -- by very objectively educating the reader on population growth and suggesting ways to further educate children (or adults) on the subject.
There should be more children's books like this one -- excellent for children, and appealing to adult readers as well.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mike Clarken on August 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What an extraordinary book! This book, with its beautiful, imaginitive illustrations and straightforward presentation of the simple realities of our complex world, is one of the most important books in my library of thousands. Smith's simplicity in his presentation of statistics without bias allows the thought process that inevitably follows the reading of each page to take over the reader's mind as it soars with the accompanying illustrations. As a teaching tool for children, I use this book with kids in grades 3-6 from a very poor school district to illustrate their comparitive socioeconomic advantages, study geopolitics, and meet our data analysis standards. My kids then can be heard enthusiastically retelling and explaining their new understanding of the world throughout the school. HOWEVER, this is as powerful a book for adults as it is for children. I have often given it as a gift to friends. We would have a different world if everyone read this book, read it with their kids, and carried the information with them as I have since I first opened it.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Bob Sylvester on March 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My field of research is the history of international education. I was therefore delighted to see this newest addition to a very important need in childrens' literature in support of Global Education efforts in Social Studies. David Smith's book, "If the World Were a Village" is one of the finest examples, in many decades, of books which provide a sensible, sensitive picture of the whole world, as it exists today, in a manner which treats the world's problems as human problems which must be treated in a human manner. Children and adults can all think in the 'scale' of a village and this is the intellectual advantage that David Smith brings to his narrative. He has used this concept of a 'village' of 100 people in workshops around the world for over a decade with great appreciation from many leaders in the field of international education.
If you are a parent who wishes your child to have an open and sympathetic view of the world and its peoples - this is a must purchase. If you are a school librarian who needs to expand the Social Studies collection with global education and multicultural education titles in mind - this is a must purchase. If you are a school principal and wish to use a book for a 'read-aloud' to a group of primary school children - this is a must purchase.
Not only is David's narrative carefully backed by the most recent world institutional reports on poverty, demographics and political movements, but also, his approach is quietly but expertly informed by a professional knowledge of the teaching of world geography, upon which this book is based. The striking but sensitive illustrations are worth the purchase alone. Such faithful articulation and congruence with the text is often difficult to accomplish in a childrens' book. This is especially true since the text is, at times, somewhat abstract and often almost too detailed in its presentation. I hope that David collaborates again with Shelagh Armstrong as they have produced a winner!
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