what in the world!:

From picture book to book with pictures, I thought we would review a book this month for older children who want to discover the world. We wouldn’t find anyone better than author Michael Smith to attract the interest of our 8- to 12-year-olds. From butchers in Syria with camel heads for sale to the Red Dzao tribe in Vietmam with their coins and red turbans, nothing escaped Smith’s sharp eye.

You’ll find pictures of the Okkaido fox, a fancy toilet in Japan, sunset on the Mekong River in Thailand, and Mongolian yurts and camels in Russia. Smith’s comments and anecdotes are full of wit and humor. His spontaneity and natural sense of adventure will make you feel like you are his perfect traveling companion. This show-and-tell book reveals all the details of an amazing journey around the world through hundreds of pictures taken everywhere.

Smith will lead you through Egypt, China, Bhutan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Japan, Ghana, Benin, Russia, Ecuador, Mexico and eight more countries in Europe. But don’t expect fancy hotels or mainstream touristy things. Smith goes deep in each country to understand the richness of its culture.

He mingles with the indigenous, takes curious pictures, and inquires about the customs with a loving curiosity that inspires people from all over the world to open up. Smith proves that it doesn’t take much to travel, just a small backpack, a modest budget and a big curiosity, as well as courage, love and respect for others. Children and parents alike will enjoy both the journey and the destination.

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