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Reading is a rewarding experience, whether you are hyped for a brand new release or revisiting an old favourite, there is something therapeutic about reading. It's easy to become so absorbed within a world where we lose our sense of time and place with: intriguing characters; heart-racing situations; and wondrous settings. As Dr Seuss once wrote: “Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.” As a little boy, Dr Seuss’ influence still holds value.
I always strive to be the best Geography teacher that I can possibly be, so when I was presented with the opportunity to recommend books for The British College of Brazil to purchase for their school library, my brain sparked into excitement. There are so many books that I have read ever since I was a little boy. I recall fond memories of my mother driving my siblings and I from our Primary School to the nearest library and allowing us to take out as many books as the librarian would allow us (or as many as our little arms could carry!). So when given the responsibility to select a few books for the younger generation at BCB to be inspired, I felt pressure to choose well.
In recent years, admittedly I have not read as many books as I used to. I’m uncertain whether this is due to my adoration of watching geographical documentaries (afterall, Sir David Attenborough has influenced my life in more ways than I can put into words), or simply that I lost touch with the magic that fiction books brought into my life as I started to read more nonfiction heading from Secondary School into University.
This summer was my opportunity to reignite my passion for books. So I made some purchases over the internet and had them delivered to my home address in London. The three books that I bought are all thoroughly interesting and have widened my perspective of the world in which we live.
Factfulness - Hans Rosling
Any of my students from Years 7 to 13 will at some point be presented with facts of geographical information in my lessons. I make sure to tell them about the wonders of humanity through the carefully chosen words of Hans. The subtitle to the book ‘Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World - and Why Things Are Better Than You Think’ tells you everything you need to know. Statistically, chimpanzees know more about the world than the majority of people on the planet. This book has shown me a new explanation of why this happens and it all starts when people start dividing the world into boxes. The way we consume media is frightening (because fear rules) and how we perceive progress is disappointing (where we wrongly believe that most things are getting worse).
The Almighty Dollar - Dharshini David
Often seen as a phrase which implies that money rules all, as a form of deity. If you have ever wondered why we can afford to buy much more materialistic items than our grandparents ever could, but are less likely to own a home in which to keep them all in, this book attempts to answer that riddle. Globalisation is a recurring theme in the IBDP Higher Level Geography course and so I am excited to introduce a new unit for Year 9 at BCB. I want our students to explore how the dollar is the lifeblood of globalisation. How is it that half of the notes in circulation exist outside of the USA, and many of the world’s dollars are owned by China? By following $1 from a shopping trip in Texas, via China’s central bank, Nigerian railroads, the oilfields of the Middle East and beyond, ‘The Almighty Dollar’ reveals the economic truths behind what we see on the news every day.
Prisoners of Geography - Tim Marshall
Presenting 10 maps that tell you everything you need to know about Global Politics, this book has interconnecting ties to the IBDP courses of both Geography and Global Politics. Exploring the farthest reaching parts of our planet, from the USA to Russia to Africa, Latin America, all the way to the Arctic Circle, this book offers an explanation for a wide range of geopolitical events. First published in 2015, when I was recently asked by a schoolchild at BCB if I would recommend them a Geography book to read in which they could improve their reading skills, I happily pointed them in the direction of the 2019 illustrated version which was nominated for Waterstones Book of the Year. Of the 3 books I have read this summer, Prisoners of Geography was the one I found myself constantly losing track of time reading. If you are interested to know more about how the physical characteristics of countries affect their strengths and vulnerabilities and the decisions made by their leaders, this book covers it all.
Overall, my summer was productive. Maintaining a positive mindset during the toughest year that I have ever experienced in my life was undoubtedly hard. However, reading these books wasn’t a challenge, it was joyful. I am proud to say that I have rediscovered the joy of reading.