Meet Our New Student Book Reviews

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School Library Journal, May 2010

On Meet Our New Student from Japan

In this country study, a student from Japan is coming to visit a third-grade class in Southern California, and Allison is intrigued by the news. A small percentage of the book consists of dialogue between the teacher and students on the impending and subsequent arrival of Sakura. There are sections explaining some Japanese history as well as the modern conveniences such as the bullet train, and current technology. The book also introduces the geography, culture, foods, and festivals of Japan. The children learn a few Japanese words and how to make osumashi and koi-nobori so that Sakura will feel at home. The recipe and craft directions are appended. While not deep in scope, this book may be useful for browsing or for classrooms getting ready to welcome their own foreign-exchange students.

School Library Journal, April 2010

On Going To School Around the World

Students are introduced to schools and customs in Costa Rica, Turkey, Finland, Kenya, Thailand, Russia, Senegal, and rural Alaska through photographs, recipes, easy and appealing crafts, and stories. Readers will see the worries and problems some children face while learning, such as a lack of textbooks in a Costa Rican school and poverty in Turkey, and find out about some customs that are very different from ours.

School Library Journal, November 2008

On the Meet Our New Student From... Series

The pick of this season’s litter. Each of these volumes opens with a fictionalized classroom scene in which a teacher invites students to learn about a new classmate’s homeland. The country’s history, geography, and culture are then laid out in basic detail. Along with such customary topics as local holidays and cuisine, readers will find references to, for instance, civil strife in Nigeria, Haiti’s persistent poverty, and renowned local writers and celebrities. According to the books, all of the authors except Orr have visited or spent extensive time in these countries. Though only Torres includes a personal anecdote, the narratives generally convey a lively sense of each land’s distinctive past, present, and people. In the final chapter of each book, the newcomer is warmly welcomed–after which a recipe, a craft, and an extensive (for this level) array of print and Web resources round out the multiple-purpose presentation.

Booklist, October 2008

On Meet Our New Student From Haiti

Using the pretense of introducing a third-grade class to the home country of a new student, this title in the Meet Our New Student From... series presents an easily-readable account that conveys basic information on the geography, history, and culture of the student's home country, Haiti. Photographs, maps, brief fact inserts, and in-text pronunciation of unfamiliar words provide a simple yet well-rounded view of Haiti and its people. Aside from the usual back matter of a source list, glossary, and further reading suggestions, this book also includes a recipe and craft activity to further enhance the multicultural impact. This title is recommended for students who may be welcoming such a new student into their own classroom, or as a complement to other country series books used for general cultural education.