Written by: Christina Nordstrom
Illustrated by: Mark Richards
Publication Date: April 2019
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: October 2019
Singer-songwriter Christina Nordstrom takes a unique approach to teaching children positive communication skills in her new book One Great Big World Community.
The first half of this twenty-page book is devoted to the lyrics of the song One Great Big World Community, with music and lyrics by Ms. Nordstrom. Each page has one verse, along with a picture that helps illustrate the subject of that verse. For example, on one page we read,
How ‘bout when you are speaking,
well, then, I will be listening,
I will be listening, I will be listening.
Then when I am speaking,
It is your turn to listen
In this great big world community!
Below that verse is a picture of a young man with his head tilted toward another young man, clearly listening to what that second person is saying.
Midway through the book is the song, One Great Big World Community, in its entirety, with all the lines and notes so that you too can play the song. (I’m no piano virtuoso, but the catchy tune is very easy to play.) Following the song, the second half of the book carefully breaks down the topic of each verse, with questions for the child/children to consider as well as guidance for the educator, or parent, to help stimulate the discussion. Here we see things such as taking a line from the song – “If I don’t understand you, then I’ll ask you a question” – followed by a brief discussion of why you might have trouble understanding someone, along with a few suggestions on how to properly resolve the issue, such as “Can you tell me what ________ means? I don’t know that word.” This second section uses the same pictures as we saw in the first section, matching them to the same topics.
One Great Big World Community, both the book and the song, tackle some important topics that kids are faced with each and every day. These include bullying, hurtful words, respecting the opinions of others and how to listen. The people featured in the book represent the diversity of the world and while the illustrations are a bit simplistic, they’re not the focus of the book, but merely an aid to help get the conversation going. The message the author successfully shares with readers comes through her music, which is a great way to engage kids. Once she has the readers’ attention, she keeps it by asking a multitude of questions, and by offering advice on how to deal positively with different situations – something we all could use a lot more of these days.
Quill says: A unique book that helps engage young readers to think more positively about those around them and how best to communicate with everybody.
To learn more about One Great Big World Community, and to purchase a copy, please visit its page on Blurb.