Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World

Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World

Roseanne Thong
Illustrator:  Elisa Kleven 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Chronicle Books, 2008   ISBN: 978-0811857161

Every day hundreds of thousands of children around the world make wishes. Often these wishes are simply muttered words, uttered when something comes up that requires a wish. In many places people wish on the first star that appears in the evening sky, which can be a regular occurrence when the night sky is clear. In addition to these everyday wishes, there are those special wishes that are made on particular days, and in this book we learn about some of these wishing traditions.

   We begin our wishing journey around the world in Guatemala, where children fly kites in cemeteries on All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day every year. The kites “carry wishes to the gods” and are round colorful creations that can be as big as a small car.

   On New Year’s Day in Brazil people go to the beach where they jump over seven waves and throw offerings into the water while they make a wish. It is said that the goddess of the sea grants wishes in return for the gifts she is given.

   In November in Thailand the people celebrate the Loi Krathong Festival. They build or purchase little boats made of banana leaves or paper and fill them coins, flowers, candles, and incense. It is believed that the little boats “carry away bad luck so that good wishes can come true.”

   Making wishes is something every child does and this book will therefore appeal to children of many ages and backgrounds. Each of the fifteen wishing traditions featured in the book are beautifully described, and the text is accompanied by colorful detail-rich illustrations.