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If America Were a Village: A Book about the People of the United States Hardcover – Aug 1 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press (Aug. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554533449
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554533442
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 0.6 x 31.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #536,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


The premise isn’t new, but it’s never been used to better effect for deepening the understanding that children have about the 306 million (and counting) other people with whom they share this land.

A whole new way to think about our country.

About the Author

David J. Smith is a teacher and educational consultant with over 25 years of experience in the classroom and is the creator of the award-winning curriculum "Mapping the World by Heart."

Shelagh Armstrong is a freelance commercial artist who has designed adult book covers, stamps and commemorative coins .If the World Were a Village was her first children's book. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa70b1c3c) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa70c2708) out of 5 stars David Smith Does It Again Aug. 9 2009
By NESA - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When David Smith's earlier book, If the World Were a Village, was published a few years ago I was immediately captivated by the concept as well as the actual product. I've purchased several copies over the years to give to teachers and libraries, and I've recommended it to many others. So, I was glad to note the publication of If America Were a Village, and I wasn't disappointed when my copy arrived. I am a consultant to schools and now will recommend both wherever I go.

The book makes fascinating facts and figures understandable to all of us by placing them in the context of a "village" of 100 people. For example, if America were a village of 100, 5 people would have more than half of all the wealth. And the 60 poorest would share only 4 percent of the wealth. That certainly puts things in perspective for me! There are many more of these insights on everything from religion to jobs to where we live.

As an educator himself, David Smith also includes about a dozen very practical suggestions for teachers and parents "to support our children in unraveling this complex, multi-faceted" country. I'm going to make sure the children in my own world have access to this book as a tool for expanding their own international horizons by first understanding their own country. I can imagine that students in schools all over America will soon be doing worthwhile research projects with titles like "If Tulsa Were a Village." Or Wyoming. Or any community in the world.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa70c2954) out of 5 stars This amazing book is an interesting eye-opener, a lot of fun to read and very informative! Nov. 19 2009
By Deb - Published on
Format: Hardcover
There are more than 306 million people living in the United States today, but if you decided to statistically break down these numbers into a village of one hundred people you would see some very amazing things. For example, in that village you would see an assortment or "rainbow of colors." You would see thirteen foreign-born people, some of whom would be citizens and some not. In that number you would see Latin Americans, Europeans and one person who could come from anywhere from Oceania to Australia. Of the remaining one hundred, seventy-five of them would be white, twelve would be black and one would be Native American. In a small village of one hundred, we can easily see our differences, but can also see how alike some of us really are depending on what we look at.

In this book, depending upon which way you looked at the village of one hundred people you will discover some amazing facts. Due to the fact we are a nation based on an immigrant population you will find people from around the world living here. You will find people who live in the urban, suburban and rural areas, the percentage of people who live where and the changes that have occurred over the past one hundred years. You can take a look at the family composition, what types of people compose a household, religious practices of people, what people do (work, go to school, stay home, etc.), how old we are, how wealthy we are, what kind of "stuff" we own, our energy consumption in comparison to the rest of the world, how healthy we are, and a brief glimpse into the future.

This is an amazing book that has a lot of potential for classroom use. It is a really interesting eye-opener, a lot of fun to read and very informative. I personally enjoyed this journey through time, across the nation and world and learned a lot of interesting things I was unaware of. For example, I was stunned to learn that "each American uses, on average, each year -- about 456,000 gallons" of water! In the back of the book there is a fantastic section on "Helping our children understand America." There are many activities that can be used in the homeschool or classroom setting. In the back of the book under sources, there are additional book and website resources that can be utilized. This book is not only fun, but it is an excellent educational resource!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa70c2b94) out of 5 stars Richie's Picks: IF AMERICA WERE A VILLAGE Sept. 16 2009
By N. S. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Wikipedia defines demography as "the statistical and mathematical study of the size, composition, and spatial distribution of human populations and how these features change over time." And so one can teach a new vocabulary word and concept when explaining to students how IF AMERICA WERE A VILLAGE provides a great lesson in demography.

But, more importantly, by imagining America to be a village of 100 people and then providing answers to a series of questions about the make-up of those 100 villagers, David J. Smith offers readers the invaluable opportunity to look beyond the ends of their noses and their own neighborhoods in order to get a broader and more objective view of the three-hundred-and-six-plus million people ("1 birth about every 8 seconds and one death every 12 seconds") who collectively make up these United States of America.

The questions addressed in the book include:
"Where do we come from?"
"What religions do we practice?"
"How old are we?"
"How wealthy are we?"
"How healthy are we?"

I have spent most of my life living in four places. I grew up in Plainview and Commack on Long Island; lived my years right after college in Southampton, Long Island; and have spent the second half of my life here in Sebastopol, California. Are these places like the U.S. as a whole? Not even close! Thus, many of the facts I learned from this book are as surprising to me than they will be to younger readers.

"A new immigrant arrives every 27 seconds," and "In our village of 100 about 13 are foreign-born."

For instance, like Holling Hoodhood from THE WEDNESDAY WARS, I have repeatedly lived in communities in which a large percentage of the families was Jewish. That only 1 person in our U.S. village of 100 is Jewish means that there must be vast regions of the United States where Jews are as rare rare as the people of African descent were in the Long Island suburbs where I grew up. (Our U.S. village of 100 has 9 people of African descent.)

IF AMERICA WERE A VILLAGE continues on to provide contrasts between the demography of America and that of the rest of the world. Particularly striking are comparisons of material wealth along with the fact that our village is responsible for "21 percent of the world's total" energy consumption and that we are "the world's top users of water."

The U.S. village of 100 (which was closer to 50 when I was born) is a place that readers will understand a lot better after getting their hands on IF AMERICA WERE A VILLAGE.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa70c2e10) out of 5 stars An educational book for children ages 8-12, grades 3-7, that portrays America as if it were a village of 100 people Sept. 19 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Written by David J. Smith and illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong, "If America Were a Village: A Book about the People of the United States" is an educational book for children ages 8-12, grades 3-7, that portrays America as if it were a village of 100 people. It shows exactly the sharp contrasts between the "haves" and "have nots" of America. In this village of 100 souls, five people have over half the wealth, 60 of the poorest people have about 4 %, and 14 people live below the poverty line. Thirteen people are under age 9, while interestingly enough, 74 people have television. "If America Were a Village" is part of an award-winning collection called CitizenKid, which is designed to deal with complicated world issues and to inspire young people to become good global citizens. Acrylic artwork by Shelagh Armstrong makes colorful splashes to illustrate the text. Another interesting area racial grouping represented and languages spoken. If America were a village (of 100 people), 82 people would speak English as their first language, 10 would speak Spanish, I speaks Chinese, 1 French and 1 German. 75 people would be white, 12 would be black, 1 is Native American and 4 are Asian, while the 8 remaining are of other races or mixtures of races. Many more fascinating details unfold to teach students more about America as a global country.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9adfb120) out of 5 stars A brilliant description of America today for all ages not merely children Aug. 26 2009
By Lee Allen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If America were a Village is a logical and necessary follow on to its predessor If the World were a Villiage. While crafted as a children's book, it captures the essance of what America consists of for Americans of all ages. I think politicians, parents, grandparents and educators all should read this book to better understand the America we live in and the America we are to become in the next generation.

We all live in a microcosm of America defined by our own neighborhood and our work and family interactions. This book bridges the wide differences we have regionally and prepares all of us for the evolving cultural and political landscape before us.

As a professional investor and as a grandparent, I find the insights in this beutifully illustrated book to be as significant and valuable as my own intellect and imagination can make it. This is a book for curious learners of all ages.