Global Updates From World View
Global Summer Reading
World View Staff Picks for 2010
Each summer World View staff recommend a favorite book (or two) that was read in the past year. These compelling books either highlight the story of a character living or born outside of the United States or focus on a global issue or region of the world. We hope you enjoy your summer and consider purchasing one (or all!) of these books the next time you head to a book store or an online bookseller.
Carina recommends . . .
The Mother Tongue: English and how it got that way
by Bill Bryson. Harper Perennial, 1991.
Ever wonder why we use the words we do in English? In The Mother Tongue, travel author Bill Bryson attempts to unwrap the linguistic nuisances of the English language through history, humor, and remarkable anecdotes.
Julie recommends . . .
Dance Lest We All Fall Down: Breaking Cycles of Poverty in Brazil and Beyond
by Margaret Willson. University of Washington Press, 2010.
Anthropologist Margaret Willson shares her personal story of how one unexpected stop in Bahia, Brazil changed not only her life, but the lives of hundreds of girls living in impoverished shantytowns in Salvador. The nonfiction book recounts the journey the author took to help start an effective international non-governmental organization that strives to break cycles of poverty by educating and contributing to the overall well being of African-Brazilian girls. The book is heartwarming, humorous, and personal and through Willson’s stories readers meet Rita, the organization’s co-founder and the current Center director, as well as many others, including friends, drug dealers, neighbors, skeptics, and supporters of Bahia Street.
This summer World View ran a study visit to Brazil for 25 North Carolina educators. We were fortunate to partner with Bahia Street to make the study visit and our time in Salvador and Cachoeira a success. Dance Lest We All Fall Down tells Bahia Street’s story and gives wonderful insight to life in Salvador. It is highly recommended for anyone considering traveling to Brazil. To access a book club reading guide or to find out more about Bahia Street, please visit: www.bahiastreet.org/bahia-street-book/
Katharine recommends . . .
Strength in What Remains: A journey of remembrance and forgiveness
by Tracy Kidder. Random House, 2009.
Strength in What Remains tells the story of Deo, a young Burundian medical student who was forced to flee his home in the face of genocide and civil war. Against all odds, Deo escaped Burundi and arrived in New York City with little money and no ability to speak English. The book details Deo’s treacherous journey to flee Burundi as well as his attempt to achieve success in America. This powerful account of one man’s incredible life story will leave you in tears, both because of the war that ravaged his native land and because of the immense obstacles he faced upon arrival in what would become his new home.
Lauren recommends . . .
The Cellist of Sarajevo
by Steven Galloway. Riverhead Print, reprint 2009.
This fictional novel is loosely based on an actual event that took place during the 1992 siege of Sarajevo. It follows four characters as they struggle to survive in war-torn Sarajevo. It is a story of maintaining hope as a means of survival, and the beauty and simplicity of humanity in the face of violence and death. It is a quick read that is deeply thought-provoking.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jamie Ford. Random House, 2009.
This fictional novel tells the story of Henry, a Chinese-American living in Seattle. A portion of the book is dedicated to Henry's childhood, which occurred during the wartime persecution and internment of Japanese immigrants in the 1940s. The author deftly switches between Henry's childhood and his adulthood in Seattle in the 1980s. Henry's friendships and family provide a snapshot of the attitudes and cultural clashes of both eras in a beautifully woven tale.
Leslie recommends . . .
by Colum McCann. Random House, 2007.
Spanning much of the 20th century, Zoli follows the life of a Romani singer and poet. (The Romani are an ethnic group living primarily in Europe.) Because Zoli is secretly taught to read and write as a young girl, she develops a unique position among the Romani and the Slovak people, a position that eventually leads to her exile from both worlds. Through Zoli’s character, McCann illuminates Romani life and culture, as well as the political challenges and atrocities faced by the Roma during WWII, Communism, and today. McCann’s portrayal of the marginalized culture of the Romani is truly eye-opening as it is neither overly sentimental nor overly judgmental. Through detailed writing and alternating narratives, McCann is able to bring readers into a fuller understanding of the culture and history of the Romani, their deeply rooted social structures and belief systems, and their experiences living against a mainstream culture. Thank you to EU and the Euro Workshop participant Mike Harris for recommending this compelling read.
Neil recommends . . .
China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know
by Jeffery Wasserstrom. Oxford University Press, 2010.
Whether you are an expert or a novice, China in the 21st Century is my suggestion for the next book you read about China. Jeffrey Wasserstrom provides clear and concise answers to the most pressing questions about the newest superpower and provides a framework for understanding its spectacular rise. In only 135 pages the author distills Chinese history and current affairs into short mini-sections, providing essential knowledge that globally literate citizens need to have about China. The “Further Reading” section is an excellent resource.
Robert and Jean recommend . . .
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Knopf, 2009.
These Pulitzer Prize winning authors make a compelling case that the struggle for gender equality and empowering women in developing countries is “the paramount challenge” of our age. Released last fall, Half the Sky already has gone through 17 printings and been adopted across the country as the selected reading for incoming college students. (NC State and Meredith College are two in North Carolina.) Through interviews, they write of young girls forced into prostitution, honor killings, “bride burning” and maternal mortality for lack of medical care. They seek to “recruit” readers to join the worldwide movement against “gendercide” and provide resources and specific actions the reader can take.
Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation
by John Carlin. Penguin, 2008.
Washington Post Book of the Year and New York Times Best Seller, Playing the Enemy is the absorbing and beautifully written story of South Africa’s transformation to a non-racial democracy. It shows Nelson Mandela’s political genius in bringing together a country on the verge of civil war through the power of a sporting event, the 1995 Rugby World Cup. In prison for 27 years, Mandela chose the least likely athletic team to unify a racially divided county: the Springboks, the South African national rugby team and the embodiment of white supremacist rule in apartheid South Africa. It is an amazing story recently brought to screen in the film INVICTUS, but the full story of his leadership and the country he unified is only understood by reading Carlin’s remarkable book.
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Do you have information that you would like to share with other educators across the state? You are welcome to submit interesting global education programs that are going on in your schools, announcements about global education seminars, new resources that others might find interesting, etc. Please email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org with your "update-worthy" items!
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