Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Come to the Great World: Poems from Around the Globe

Come to the Great World: Poems from Around the Globe

Selected by Wendy Cooling
Illustrator:  Sheila Moxley 
5 to 8
Holiday House, 2004   ISBN: 0823418227

All too often, children are encouraged to notice the differences that exist between different cultures, races, and nationalities. More often then not, left to their own devices, children will play with each other very easily even if they don’t share a common language and even if they don’t look alike. This collection of thirty-one poems was written by poets from “every corner of the earth,” and they “show what children share as well as reflecting the differences in their lives.”

Ross Falconer, who is from Australia, writes about the special “small world” where children live. It is a world that adults cannot enter because it has a wall around it that is twenty feet high, and “adults only have ten feet ladders.”

Gloria Guevra from Nicaragua tells us about “people in poverty,” and how children pick through the garbage in the town dump. You can hear the pain in her voice as she describes how the children fill old sacks “with rusty tins / worn-out shoes / bits of old cardboard boxes.” Teresa de Jesus’s voice is angry as she tells us that seeing poverty “makes me furious.” She perfectly captures the emotions many children experience when they see poverty. It simply makes no sense to them why poverty should exist.

With messages of hope and inspiration about the world’s problems and its riches, this collection of poems will give young readers a great deal to think about.