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Book of the Month: Adventures to School

By Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul

With illustrations by Isabel Muñoz Recommended: Grades 2-5

Adventures to School: Real-Life Journeys of Students from Around the World introduces readers to 13 different students and the unique cultural practices, environments, and modes of transportation they each encounter on their way to school. This is a high-quality and highly informative nonfiction children’s book for your elementary-aged reader. There is a lot to learn about the world and what better way to begin your child’s exploration than starting with someone that is familiar to most students: going to school! 

Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul describe the treks of students from Japan, Ethiopia, Bhutan, Pakistan and many more nations alongside beautiful illustrations by Isabel Muñoz. Each story of getting to school through mountains, snow, or city streets is followed up by an explanation of the geography unique to each country. The words and images together showcase each students’ determination and sense of adventure, helping the reader draw connections between themselves and the students even across differences.

Learning about individuals and nations across the globe is an essential part of developing a global mindset. A global mindset includes the ability to think beyond one’s own community and familiar settings. It is the ability to empathize with others across differences, to engage in current events, and to make an impact on others outside of your local area. No matter how old your student is currently, it is important to know that having a global mindset is a key quality for mature young adults and something that top colleges want to see in their accepted students. At any given university, students will need to know how to navigate a conflict of ideas in class or how to make compromises in their dorm room when living with someone who is different from them. 

How do you help your student develop a global mindset and prepare for these experiences? You do not need the resources for domestic or  international travel in order to help your student broaden their horizons in this way. Reading is a low-lift way to begin your young child’s journey from a self-focused mindset to a global one. Adventures to School is an example of children’s nonfiction, but you can also seek out fiction stories written by individuals from a different nation, culture, or perspective. You can support your child’s deeper understanding by encouraging them to learn more about one country in this book. After reading, select one section that they are drawn to. Then, help them use other books or webpages to find more information about how individuals live in a particular country. You could start with what a typical school day looks like once they arrive– something relatable for your child as well. Finally, have them show their learning by writing or drawing about what they learned. 

Adventures to School is not only a great read for an elementary school student, but can also be a jumping off point for a deeper dive into a new topic.

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