Monday, October 10, 2011

iRead: My Place

Did you ever draw floor plans or maps as a kid? I loved making my home and neighborhood feel like a place where adventures could happen! My friends and I would use our maps to find pretend treasure or to create neighborhood walks. The book My Place, by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins, shares the stories of twenty-one kids over a span of 200 years. Each story shares information about the child, her family, and the neighborhood they live in as well as a map of the neighborhood. (SPOILER ALERT!) By about the third page, you realize each story takes place in the same home and each map is a variation of the neighborhood, tracking the changes from decade to decade.

The story, published in 1988, represents Australian history. My Place is a picture book but filled with a lot of text and information. I think children over 7 would enjoy reading this alone, but I could see myself reading it to kids as young as 4. I learned about it from a recent Kidscreen article. The book was turned into an Australian television program last year; each episode sharing a different child’s story, a different moment in time. They’ve renewed the show for another season, and I'm so curious to see it. You can read more about it here.

Though this is an Australian story, I think there’s something we can all relate to. Regardless of the kind of home we live in, everyone’s neighborhood has seen change and development over the past 200 years. Wouldn’t it be interesting to track the changes and the history of your own home and neighborhood?

I would have loved to use this in my Kindergarten classroom. I would have introduced the story to my students, probably reading it over a course of two days. As a class, we could create a history of our school and school neighborhood. Maybe we'd bring in the school director or parents who attended the school to interview and help us create our map and story. At home, each family could create their own map and brief history to be shared somewhere in the classroom.

My Place is out of print, but I highly recommend you purchasing a used copy here! Do you think this show would succeed in the US?

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