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The Picture Book Buzz

Adventures to School - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

The greatest books explore events and emotions that are universal. The experience of a snow day, frustration of uniformity, or friendship. A relationship with a grandparent, loss, and loneliness. Things that, though the actual names and experiences are different, resonate throughout all our lives.

What about going to school? This is often an action that many kids take for granted or grudgingly accept. Except in certain areas, it is a universal experience of childhood.

Though most children attend school, how they get there differs greatly. Many people ride a school bus, carpool, bike, or walk to school. But there are so many other ways to get to school. I've heard stories from my dad about having to snowshoe or cross-country ski into school when he lived in Minnesota. I know others who've ridden a horse.

Around the world, the process of getting to school is often much more of an adventure. This picture book examines thirteen real-life ways that children take to get to school.

Adventures to School: Real-Life Journeys of Students from Around the World

Authors: Miranda Paul & Baptiste Paul

Illustrator: Isabel Munoz

Publisher: little bee books

Ages: 4-8

Informational Fiction


Excitement to learn, diversity, adventure, social studies, and research.

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Kids around the world get to school in unique ways. Take a peek inside this book and see how they reach their destinations! Children all around the world go to school. Whether they're from Japan, Ukraine, Ethiopia, or the United States, all students have the desire to learn about the world and shape the future. In Bhutan, children walk for three hours to make it to school, and in Pakistan, children travel by rickshaw. Some children in China must climb a heaven ladder, while children in Nepal must walk over a wire bridge. The treks of these students are unique, extraordinary, and even dangerous, and they signify the common determination, perseverance, and sense of adventure shared by young people around the world. Read along as students from thirteen different nations embark on their journeys to get to school in the morning, and learn about the diverse landscapes and cultures of these countries along the way!

Opening Lines:

Each day, children around the world face interesting

journeys. They have different ways of reaching their

destinations, but they're all headed to the same place.

What I Like about this book:

In addition to exploring thirteen amazing journeys that kids take to attend school, Miranda, Baptiste, and Isabel included a nonfiction side section on each country which shows the country's flag, a representative animal or plant, and interesting details. These sections are full of such tantalizing tidbits, that they are sure to encourage further investigation into the differences and similarities of countries around the world.

The first-person narratives are fictionalized composites, based upon the experiences of one or more children in each area. While they avoid, in both the text and illustrations, being overly graphic, they do not pull punches or tone down the experiences of these children. It is humbling to read of the six-hour boat ride across a sea, a three-hour walk through the mountains, and climbing down steep ladders perched against cliff faces. The illustrations beautifully capture the differences in the colors and textures of the environments and cultures of these various countries.

Text © Baptiste Paul, Miranda Paul, 2018. Image © Isabel Muñoz, 2018.

At the end, illustrated 'snap shots' of children in school, ready to learn, are accompanied by the question - "How did you get to school today?" Almost as important as providing us a glimpse into the lives of others, the Paul's include an important note to the reader that "not all of what we read on the internet is complete or up-to-date, and we should always look for multiple sources when doing research." To demonstrate this, they include three last examples of children's trips to school that have recently changed for the better in Indonesia, Colombia, and Vietnam.

Text © Baptiste Paul, Miranda Paul, 2018. Image © Isabel Muñoz, 2018.

Overall a wonderful book for learning how other kids get to school and for experiencing a tiny window into their lives. This is also an excellent book to open discussions about the diversity of life's experiences - not just journeys to school, but about other aspects of life we often take for granted. It is an excellent jumping off point to begin research about other countries. As well as starting discussions over the need for caution and diligence in research and determining truth from "fake news" in our tech-reliant society.


- how do you get to school? Bus, car, walk, or subway? Make a collage of all the ways kids in your class get to school;

- what would be the strangest way you could think of getting to school?

- which way, from the book, would you not want to do travel?

- what is the longest that anyone in your class, or that you know, travels to school?

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

If you missed it, Miranda and Baptiste Paul stopped by to talk about Adventures to School and what it was like to collaborate on this picture book.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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