Monsoon season is the rainiest in Bangladesh, and it is during a severe rainstorm that read- ers meet Iqbal and his sister Sadia. They live in a world where the primary role of women and young girls is to care for the family, which in- cludes gathering firewood and cooking. Iqbal soon realizes that his mother and baby sister are getting sick from the smoke produced by cooking indoors over an open flame. Armed with this realization, Iqbal is determined to create and enter a sustainable design to win the cash prize in his school district’s science competition. Earning this money will enable Iqbal to buy a propane-burning cook stove for his mother, which would reduce the family’s health problems and decrease the amount of firewood needed. Books act as mirrors to reflect our students

IQBAL AND HIS INGENIOUS IDEA: How a Science Project Helps One Family and the Planet Elizabeth Suneby, illustrated by Rebecca Green Kids Can Press, 2018. 29 pages, $19.99 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Reviewed by Dian Baker

and windows to provide access to new and different worlds. Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea is a picture book that flawlessly performs the roles of both mirror and window. In this book, racialized students will have the opportunity to see themselves to be as competent and ca- pable as the main character, Iqbal. The book can be used with students in grade 3 and up. The illustrations are enormous; they tell much

An increasing percentage of the world’s popu- lation lives in urban areas, limiting our con- nection to agrarian cycles and our relation- ships with animals. Nature Deficit Disorder, the health risks associated with sedentary life- styles, and students’ inability to recognize as many types of plants as corporate logos, pro- vide serious physical and emotional challenges. Down to Earth – How Kids Help Feed the World is a powerful resource that will help teachers restore students’ ecological agency and food security and facilitate their re-grounding. Multi-talented author Nikki Tate has been traveler, blogger and actor. Her

a farmer,

DOWN TO EARTH – HOW KIDS CAN HELP FEED THE WORLD Nikki Tate Orca Book Publishers, 2013 48 pages, $12.95 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Reviewed by Dave Fingrut

book is full of resources for those interested in learning about different types of agricul- ture and animal domestication, and fits into the social studies, science and technology, and health curriculums. Favorably reviewed by Canadian Teacher, School Library Journal, and Kirkus, the book combines personal narratives with riddles, fun facts and beautiful photos covering topics such as genetic diversity, seed banks, staple crops, organic farming, animal welfare, rare breeds, free range animals, urban farming and rooftop gardening. We learn about important global crops that many Ontario students may not be fa-


of the story and provide many opportunities for students to make inferences, draw con- clusions and ask questions. During the initial reading, I found myself asking aloud: “Where are the girls? Why are the women responsible for that work? Why are the men not help- ing?” The book provides glimpses into a world of traditional gender roles. With student-gen- erated questions, it also serves as the founda- tion for inquiry-based teaching and learning into real-world problems students may be in- terested in tackling. Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea connects to the fundamental concepts of energy, sustain- ability and stewardship in the science cur- riculum for grades 5 and 7. It is an excellent resource for Grade 8 students to highlight the big idea about issues related to the inequalities in global development and quality of life that can have social, environmental, political, and economic implications.

Dian Baker is a member of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto.

miliar with such as cassava, yucca, millet and sorghum, as well as lesser-known domesti- cated animals such as the wooly Mangalitsa pig, the Muscovy duck and the humble urban pigeon. The book encourages healthy-eating habits by creating conversation-starters about where students’ food comes from and the ideal circumstances under which it should be pro- duced. It notes the important role youth and students themselves play in the agricultural sector by growing crops, taking care of farm animals and urban gardening. Students will find ideas for science fair proj-

ects and social studies reports from organiza- tions like the 4-H Club, Rare Breeds Canada, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and Sustainable Harvest International. The book’s features on deconstructing food marketing and labeling tie in nicely with the media studies strand of the language curriculum. Nikki Tate has also published Better Togeth-

er: Creating Community in an Uncertain World, Deep Roots: How Trees Sustain Our Planet, and Take Shelter: At Home Around the World, which focus on the inter-related topics of communi- ty, forest ecology and human habitation.

Dave Fingrut is a member of the Kawartha Pine Ridge Occasional Teacher Local.

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