The Way to School

WTS_backcover.inddThe Way to School

Rosemary McCarney with Plan International, Author

Second Story Press, Nonfiction, Sept. 1, 2015

Suitable for Ages: 6-9

Themes: How children from around the world travel to school

Opening: “You probably enjoy going to school. Even if you have a bad day now and then, wouldn’t you miss it if you could never go? Did you know that lots and lots of kids around the world would love to go to school, but can’t?”

Synopsis: As the new school year begins, many children eagerly prepare for school. In America and Canada, most ride school buses, travel by car or walk.  But, children all over the world don’t have a yellow school bus picking them up each day. For many children, the journey to school is not very easy. It can be long, arduous and dangerous. They travel though earthquake and tsunami areas, wade or paddle across rivers, climb mountains and slippery cliffs, cling to ziplines that dangle over gorges, and ride dog sleds.

Why I like this book:

Rosemary McCarney has once again written a beautiful and remarkable book that will be an eye-opener for many children. I was surprised at the extreme dangers children face daily because they are so determined to attend school. They want to improve their lives and help their communities.

I like McCarney’s minimal use of text and her emphasis on the beautiful photographs that speak more than words ever could. Every photograph in this stunning picture book shows the commitment children are willing to make to go to school. This is a magnificent book for teachers to use in the classroom at the start of a new school year. It will jump-start many interesting discussions about extreme modes of transportation for children in third world countries.  It will also help children appreciate what they have. This book belongs in every school library.


Photo Courtesy of Second Story Press

Resources/Activities: After reading the book and showing children each detailed photograph, ask them some lively questions: “What would you do to get to school?” “How important is school to you? Why do children in poor villages want to go to school?” Ask kids to choose one of modes of transportation in the book, draw a picture and write a paragraph about going to school by boat, dog sled or ziplines. Today is a National Day of Service. How will you be involved?

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

37 thoughts on “The Way to School

    • I agree. When I read this book I was stunned. The pictures will be an eye-opener for many kids and emphasize how much kids value their education. This is a wonderful discussion book for the beginning of the year!


  1. Gorgeous artwork, and I am sure these journeys are inspiring. When I lived in Africa I was constantly amazed at the effort children went to to get an education! Great addition to any elementary school library.


  2. I’ve been trying to find a book to get the message across to my son that school is a privilege not a right. Your post couldn’t have been more timely. Thanks for doing this post! Great review, Pat.


  3. WoW! How fabulous to show western children just how difficult (or adventurous) it can be to go to school. And it is also amazing how many children crave an education and are deprived of it. Always good to show some of our children just how well off they are in comparison!


  4. I remember hearing different pieces on NPR about how far children in some parts of the world have to travel to get an education…unbelievable how much they have to go through for learning that we take for granted in the Western world. I must check out this book. Thanks for finding and sharing it, Pat!


  5. Wow!! What a great concept – a way of showing what life is like in other parts of the world in a way that kids will be able to relate to. I’d think it would really draw them in to imagine going to school on a dogsled or zipline, but ultimately help them appreciate how lucky they are to have such easy access to school. I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so pleased you enjoyed my review of “The Way to School” — I was excited to share this one. I loved your comments and suggestions for using the book. I hope others who read the book, review it and pass along this powerful story! Pictures are stunning.


  6. Wow this is a beautiful book. Great review Pat. So important that kids in our countries learn how difficult it is for others in different parts of the world to get a decent education. A must read for all schools. (reminds me of Laos)


    • I thought you’d like this picture book! I agree that Western kids need to know the challenges other kids face in traveling to school. Made me think of the Rain School, which is a good companion book. I believe there was a picture in Laos, or nearby.


  7. This book would be interesting for school kids. I would not have an education if I had lived where I must ride a zipline to get to school. However, my walk to the Banner Mountain school took me through woods where possibly dangerous wild animals roamed, and maybe watched me walk by. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this book! As a kid who was never too fond of school (I hated it pretty much from the moment I realized that after kindergarten I would have to be at school ALL DAY), I likely would have been astonished to see the lengths that some children must go to just to go to school. We take our lives for granted, and it can be an eye-opening, perspective-shifting experience to realize just how much other people are willing to sacrifice or risk to have something we just take for granted, or don’t appreciate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sure there are many kids who felt/feel that way. Kids take so much for granted. That’s why this is an important book to start off the year with. Children need to know how badly kids around the world want to go to school — no matter the dangerous travel conditions.


  9. Wow! very interesting book! I’d like to read it for sure. being from Chile, I can see many of Chilean children going through the same situation. When I was growing up, I never had a yellow bus picking me up from the corner of my house. Instead, walked or I took the public transportation, an believe me, it is not save for children taking the public transportation in a big city like Santiago.


    • I am glad you enjoyed my review of “The Way to School.” Thank you for sharing your first-hand knowledge about the difficulties of traveling to school in Santiago. Can’t imagine kids taking public transportation alone in a big city. That’s why I think American/Canadian children need to know how difficult going to school can be in other countries and how important an education is for those children. Stunning photographs in this book.


  10. Pingback: As a Boy | Children's Books Heal

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