One Day: around the world in 24 hours

10 September 2013

Suma Din tells us how she came to write her children’s book about time zones, and considers the global issues it brings into play.

One Day - cover imageBack to school, and the first thing that spills out amongst the new stationery are tales of travel – be it Grannie’s bungalow in Devon, or a coast in the Caribbean – someone’s bound to have gone somewhere. Travel opens up endless subjects of different cultures, time zones and climates, homes and landscapes, bringing the ‘global’ into our local lives.

If you’re looking for something that captures all this (and more), One Day may come in handy. It’s a book about, well, a bit of everything: fifteen children living in five time zones and one day in their lives!

Why and How?

It was a couple of summers ago: my son and I discussed how varied children’s lives are around the world and how fascinating it is that everyone’s in a different part of the day and night – all at the same time. Now if that’s a mouthful to read, it’s a mindful to reflect on – especially when you’re nine years old.

The seed was sown and after many a calculation, this hybrid publication (it’s both fictional stories and non-fiction with the time zone theme) appeared in spring this year.

Going from this:

Image of Suma Din's notebook for 'One Day'

To this:

Image of Suma Din's manuscript of 'One Day'

And finally this:

Image of a page-spread from Suma Din's 'One Day'

Global Dimension’s feature on time has some head-spinning facts on the subject:

For more about time measurement and the rotation of the earth, the Greenwich Observatory has curriculum linked resources here:

Countries and cultures

If you’re looking for a cultural springboard within the book there’s plenty to explore with Christiane Engel’s delicious illustrations; from South American weaving to Turkish ebru designs; Portuguese baking to the Russian circus.

Children live in a variety of homes in contrasting locations. Mia lives in an apartment in New York, while Hanif’s home in Indonesia is built on stilts due to the heavy rain during the monsoon. Which leads to the topics of climates and habitats and the variety of animals that make their way onto the pages.

Children’s rights issues

Beneath the surface, there are a number of issues teachers can elicit. In India, for example one of the children works late night shifts with his mother. Why does his wealthier neighbour share her lunch with him? In DR Congo, Mani and his mother leave their village after disruption and a fire around their home. Will they find shelter at their destination after walking for two days? At the foot of the Atlas mountains in Morocco, water is not readily available. Where does Nadah’s mum go to fetch it?

Complimenting any of these children’s rights issues are UNICEF resources, in particular the ‘Find the Rights’ poster:

What we share

But it’s not all about difference. One Day’s storylines carry many emotions and situations children can identify with too: the arrival of a new baby; getting into trouble; team sports competitions; an unwell grandparent; looking after pets.

Whatever your subject, if you want a global topic, a host of activities and research can flow from the fifteen children’s experiences.

Suma Din is an author, Adult Education tutor and is currently completing an MA in Social Justice and Education at the IOE London University.

One Day is published by Bloomsbury; for further details visit the Bloomsbury website.

If you use the book with your class, we’d love to hear what kind of discussions it prompted. Please use the comments box below to tell us. (You will need to login to do this.)

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