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While You Are Sleeping
While You Are Sleeping
By author: Durga Bernhard   Illustrated by: Durga Bernhard
Product Code: 
Binding Information: Hardback 
5  - 8
In Stock
Price: $14.95

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See what one moment in time looks like across the globe

As one child goes to bed, another child is waking up on the other side of the world. With each page turn, readers see the same moment in time in nine different countries: the United States, Nigeria, Japan, Mexico, India, Thailand, Haiti, England, and Brazil. The lift-the-flap feature makes the "big idea" concept of time accessible to young readers. Open the book to a child reading before bed in Alaska, then lift the flap on the opposite page to see someone in Nigeria getting dressed to start her day.

Durga Bernhard's simple text and whimsical illustrations make While You Are Sleeping a perfect read-aloud-especially for bedtime. Back matter includes a map and author's note explaining time zones and highlighting the different countries featured in the text.

An excellent resource for all areas of the curriculum, this book invites readers to learn more about the cultures, people, and places in the world around them.

This book is good for your brain because:
Strong picture/text support, concept of time, introduction to the different time zones

Download the Activity & Discussion Guide.

Download the cover image.

If you like this book, you'll love these:
  • Telling Time
  • Kindergarten Day USA and China
  • Mung-Mung

  • Awards
  • NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
  • Notable Books for a Global Society

  • Reviews
      Kirkus Reviews - January 1, 2011
    A clever design allows readers to travel the world, one page turn at a time. "While you are reading, / on the other side of the world, / someone is getting dressed." The illustrations show an Alaskan child curled up in bed with a parent at 10 p.m., facing a map of Africa, Nigeria highlighted, with an inset gatefold. A flip reveals a young Nigerian girl at 9 a.m. Turning the page reveals that same Nigerian girl opposite a Japanese child...and so on until the circular tale returns to Alaska. Teachers will appreciate Bernhard’s incorporation of 12- and 24-hour digital clocks, as well as the analog clock hiding under each round gatefold. The final page is a map of the world delineated by time zone and includes thumbnails from each highlighted country. A small text block explains the reason for the time zones and tells how they work. Gorgeous illustrations combine beautiful colors with a glimpse of life in other countries—the houses, foods and activities of faraway places. Both educational and somnolent, this does for younger children what David A. Adler’s Time Zones (2010) did for older ones.
      Publishers Weekly - January 17, 2011
    Well-suited to storytime, bedtime, or just about any other time, this soothing picture book leapfrogs around the globe to drive home the idea that in any given moment, kids worldwide are sleeping, working, playing, and dreaming. "While you are sleeping," Bernhard opens, "on the other side of the world, someone is getting dressed." Opposite an Alaskan mother and child reading together at 10 p.m., a circular flap lifts to reveal a Nigerian girl tying her head wrap at 9 a.m. From there, Bernhard jumps to Japan, Mexico, India, and elsewhere as children engage in everyday activities. A closing note touches on time zones, the prime meridian, and 12- versus 24-hour clocks.
      Yellow Brick Road - January 15, 2011
    The notion that, in other places and cultures, it is also a different time is hard to grasp. After reading and seeing illustrations of their own time and activities, readers lift the flap to see the same moment in different places. Countries include the U.S., Nigeria, Japan, Mexico, India, Thailand, Haiti, England and Brazil. More information on time zones, including a map is included in back matter. A discussion and activity guide is available at and a song based on the book can be heard at
      Sugar Pop Ribbons - February 2, 2011
    Charlesbridge has released a series of new Children's books for Spring of 2011 and DD received a couple of them to review. As many of you already know, DD loves books, she can not get enough of them. Because we read to her daily, she gets tired of the books fairly quickly and wants us to buy her new books all the time to change things up. The morning her new books arrived, she actually asked if she could buy new books, so these books could not have come at a better time.

    DD received While You Are Sleeping to review.

    See what one moment in time looks like across the globe.

    As one child goes to bed, another child is waking up on the other side of the world. With each page turn, readers see the same moment in time in nine different countries: the United States, Nigeria, Japan, Mexico, India, Thailand, Haiti, England, and Brazil. The lift-the-flap feature makes the “big idea” concept of time accessible to young readers. Open the book to a child reading before bed in Alaska, then lift the flap on the opposite page to see someone in Nigeria getting dressed to start her day.

    Durga Bernhard’s simple text and whimsical illustrations make While You Are Sleeping a perfect read-aloud–especially for bedtime. Back matter includes a map and author’s note explaining time zones and highlighting the different countries featured in the text.

    An excellent resource for all areas of the curriculum, this book invites readers to learn more about the cultures, people, and places in the world around them.

    We like this book because it serves several purposes. Not only that it teaches time zone and explaining what people are doing at the same moment in nine different countries, it also shows DD what different kids are doing. The book gives quickly glimpse of what life might be like for another kid in different country. For instance, a little girl might be milking a goat. DD did not know anything about milking a goat before, so that's something new that she has learned.

      In the Pages. . . - February 22, 2011
    While You Are Sleeping by Durga Bernhard is a picture book that I just LOVE. It is a fun lift-the-flap book and shows how the times is different all around the world. What a fun concept for our little ones to grasp and they will love this format! Great for any multi-cultural unit!
      School Library Journal - March 1, 2011
    As she did with In the Fiddle Is a Song (Chronicle, 2006), Bernhard has taken a relatively complicated concept and presented it with elegant clarity. She begins her journey in Alaska at 10:00 p.m., with a mother reading a story to her child. Meanwhile "on the other side of the world, someone is getting dressed." A small circular flap depicts a Nigerian village, and when lifted it shows a child completing the action described at 9:00 a.m. The next page shows that same child walking through her village holding a pineapple and a loaf of bread and states: "While you are carrying, someone is walking home with a friend." The corresponding flap on the page opposite depicts a Japanese village, and it is lifted to reveal two Japanese boys making their way home at 5:00 p.m. The pattern continues, moving from country to country with children performing actions appropriate to a particular time of day until readers are back in Alaska at 10:00 p.m. with a now-slumbering child. The carefully composed gouache illustrations use mostly muted shades punctuated with occasional splashes of bright color and accurately depict the architecture, landscape, dress, etc., of each country. The small flaps are superimposed on maps that show the location of both the country and the continent. Lift-the-flap books tend not to fare well in general circulation, but this one would work well either one-on-one or in a group setting for a lesson that includes time, geography, and diversity.
      Shelf-employed - February 28, 2011
    Just a quick post today on a great little title for the 2011 Cooperative Summer Library Program, "One World, Many Stories." Each page features a small inset map and a local time, with an illustration of a child sleeping, playing, eating, doing whatever is common for that time. The adjacent page features a circular illustration depicting another part of the world. Lift the flap to see another child in his own time zone. The following pages continue the story, each child in his own country at his local time. (Interestingly, the local time in India is at half-past the hour, as the entire country of India is set in the time zone, regardless of the standard longitudinal divisions between Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian.)

    The final pages feature a map of the world with the delineations for each time zone.

    While You Are Sleeping is an attractively illustrated multi-purpose book, suitable for the summer reading theme, "One World, Many Stories", or for teaching multiculturalism, time zones, geography, or the rotation of the earth around the sun.

      Washington Parent - April 1, 2011
    What happens on the other side of the planet? This lyrical lift-the-flap book of time around the world helps kids to imagine the daily lives of others. The book is well-designed to make abstract concepts easy to grasp. For example, it opens with, “While you are reading, on the other side of the world, someone is getting dressed.” The colorful gouache illustrations depict a mother and child reading in Alaska at 10 p.m. on page 1 while on page 2 the flap, when lifted, reveals a girl in Nigeria fixing her headwear at her time of 9 a.m. When readers turn the page, they discover the Nigerian girl now carrying fruit and bread at 9 a.m. while the lifted flap reveals a boy “walking home with a friend” at 5 p.m. in Japan. The small maps on each page help youngsters to locate each featured country, and the lively scenes of village or town life allow them to step into a specific culture rich in detail, such as the Nigerian huts, chickens and goats. A wonderful way to expand a child’s horizons.
      A Patchwork of Books - April 11, 2011
    Teaching children about different time zones could be a lot of fun, as this book illustrates. I mean, how cool is it to imagine that while you're sitting at a desk in school, another child may be fast asleep at home or vice versa?

    Using bright illustrations and very simple text, the reader is able to get a look into what life is like in different parts of the world. At 10pm in Alaska, a child is reading a bedtime story, while all the way in Nigeria, it is 9am and a child is getting dressed for their day. While you are waving goodbye to friends in Japan at 5pm, someone in Mexico is fast asleep at 2am. Fun!

    Each page features a small map featuring the first country mentioned and the time of day, as well as a lift-the-flap of a visual and a clock featuring the time in the other country. The very last pages include a world map and a small block of text explaining time zones and how they work. Interactive and beautifully illustrated!

    Great for classroom or homeschooling!

      Booklist - April 15, 2011
    "While you are reading, on the other side of the world, someone is getting dressed" begins this presentation on time zones. At 10 p.m. in Alaska, a mother and child are looking at a book. Meanwhile, it's 9 a.m. in Nigeria, where a girl is getting dressed. At the same time, it's 5 p.m. in Japan, where a boy walks home with his friend. The sentences of the text form an ongoing chain, linking images that are revealed in paired circles, a large round illustration on the left-hand page and a smaller one on the right, where the picture of a child is revealed by lifting a circular flap. Although children may catch the drift from seeing the colorful, stylized gouache paintings of children around the world, the book's central idea is best expressed on the back endpapers, where time zones are colorfully displayed on a world map and a few paragraphs of text briefly explain the concept.
      BayViews - April 1, 2011
    Beginning and ending in Alaska, this book takes a snapshot of what is happening around the globe at the same moment in different time zones by showing children of various ethnicities engaging in the daily activities of their lives. While an Alaskan girl is being read a goodnight story at 10 p.m., a Thai boy climbs a tree at 3 p.m., a British girl milks a goat at 8 a.m., and three Haitian children slumber in one bed at 3 a.m. Each double-page spread illustrates on the left page what is happening in one country at that specific time and juxtaposes this with a small circle on the right page that is lifted up to reveal what is happening simultaneously (but at a different time) in another country. The following page then focuses on that country and introduces a third, and so on. Bernhard’s rich gouache paintings depict in loving detail a range of scenes from a village fountain in India, to traditional Nigerian dresses, to cherry blossoms alongside a Japanese country lane. This book would work well for students who already have a good grasp on how to tell time and would be best supported by a deeper understanding of geography and how day and night across the globe are affected by the earth’s rotation around the sun.
    This clever book opens with a mother reading to her child at 10:00 pm in Alaska. “While you are reading, on the other side of the world, someone is getting dressed.” You lift the flap to see a girl in Nigeria knotting a scarf on her head at 9:00 am. Turn the page to see the Nigerian girl strolling through her village. Lift the flap to see two boys walking home at 5:00 pm in Japan. Each page shows a tiny map of the country, a clock, and scenes of children doing timeappropriate activities. Young readers will quickly grasp the concept of how time marches around the world, and why one child is waking up as another is going to bed. The colorful art is warm, restful, and meant to lead a child into sleep by the end of the story. *** Reviewer’s Pick of the Month
    Durga Bernhard addresses a problem that parents and teachers sometimes have explaining to children. When it comes to time – one size doesn’t fit all. Rather than try to explain why there are different time zones or why the seasons are not the same every place in the world at the same time, the author focuses on making the reader realize that when it is nine in the morning in California it is not nine in the morning in London or Japan.

    Following children in different cultures, the young reader is made to realize that when he or she is getting ready for bed, a child in another part of the world is just getting up to start a new day.

    As you bounce around the globe from one time zone to another you’ll see various children engaged in everyday activities and then you’ll be asked to flip a flap to see another child in another place. The flap also includes a clock face so you can see how different the time is.

    Maps identify where you are as you turn to a new page and where the next time zone is. As a child in Thailand is climbing a tree and picking fruit at three in the afternoon, it is three in the morning on the island of Haiti halfway around the world and two other youngsters are fast asleep.

    There is also a world map on the back inside cover that shows all the world’s times zones and a small box briefly explaining why there are different time zones.

      The Horn Book Review Magazine - June 15, 2011
    A left-brain concept gets a right-brain treatment in this picture-book explanation of time zones. The book opens with a mother and child sharing a book; a thumbnail map says it is ten o'clock at night in the Aleutian Islands. On the facing page is a background map of Africa, with Nigeria highlighted; lift the flap to see where "someone is getting dressed" at 9:00 a.m. A page turn continues the chain, where the Nigerian child carries food through her village while across the page and under the flap in Japan, "someone is walking home with a friend" at five in the evening.

    In all, nine simultaneous events are shown, from a child milking a goat in the UK at 8:00 a.m. to another sleeping in Haiti at 3:00 a.m. The concept isn't so much explained as laid out, allowing young children to engage with the book at whatever level can be managed (and adult sharers should be prepared for the tricky bit in India, where it's 1:30 p.m.). Printed on glossy cardboard stock, the gouache illustrations are all round frames and gentle lines, the circular nature of the story and concept echoed visually everywhere and given human interest by the detailed activities of the international cast.

      Jen Robinson's Book Page - July 1, 2011
    While You Are Sleeping is, as advertised in the subtitle, a lift-the-flap book showing time zones around the world. All of the events of the book take place simultaneously, but at different times because of the time zones. So we begin with:

    "While you are reading (a clock shows 10:00 pm, and a little map shows Alaska), on the other side of the world (lift a flap with a picture of a Nigerian village, and a clock underneath the flap shows 9 am above a picture of a Nigerian girl), someone is getting dressed."

    The next page shows that while the same Nigerian girl is carrying food through her village at 9 am, a boy in Japan is walking home from school with a friend at 5 pm. And so on. Taking the character from under the flap on the right-hand side of the page, and bringing him or her forward to the left-hand side of the next page, lends continuity to the book, and will keep kids wanting to the turn to the next page.

    There's actually a lot more going on in this book than just the idea of time zones. Each page spread includes clocks, maps, and detailed illustrations of different places and people of different nationalities. The primary illustrations on each page are brightly colored and filled with pleasant details, like sheep cavorting in the background. The maps are more muted, there in the background for anyone interested, but not drawing attention away from the main narrative.

    Although my 14-month-old daughter loves lifting flaps in books, we're going to have to put this one aside until she's a bit older. The pages, while relatively thick, are not going to stand up to the abuses of a toddler. And the small, detailed illustrations, not to mention the concepts of the book, will of course be over her head. But I think that this would be a great book for a four or five year old who has recently learned to tell time. I think you'd want to have a globe handy as you go through the pages, to also point out the countries there. While You Are Sleeping is especially nice for the many children who have relatives living in other countries.

    While You Are Sleeping is fun, beautiful, and educational. Recommended for the early elementary school set, or for anyone wanting to understand time zones better, and catch glimpses of people from around the world.

    While You Are Sleeping shows a single moment in time, as experienced by children across the globe.

    The opening pages show a young girl in Alaska, reading with her mother before bed. A small inset on the page shows a map and a clock with the current time (the reader may be startled to note the very late bedtime - 10pm!).

    A circular lift-the-flap pocket on the adjacent page shows us a child in another time zone going about their day, in this case a Nigerian girl getting dressed at nine o'clock in the morning. The next double-page spread follows the girl's story, showing her carrying food to the market.

    We successively visit Japan, Mexico, India, Thailand, Haiti, England, and Brazil, watching children immersed in daily activities ranging from walking home from school to picking fruit or milking goats. In the final pages, we revisit the Alaskan child to see her being tucked into bed by her mother.

    An author's note follows the book, describing the concept of time zones. The care and thought that has gone into creating this book shine through on every page. For instance, the clock in India shows the half hour rather than the hour, reflecting the fact that although India covers an east-west distance of about 1,200 miles, all of India follows a single time zone of its own (known as Indian Standard Time), corresponding to the center of the country. A nice detail for a picture book to capture!

    The author depicts each culture accurately while wisely staying away from stereotypes about what different groups of people do. For instance, the American child happens to be Native American; the child milking goats happens to be English rather than from a less developed country.

    While You Are Sleeping is a superbly imagined and executed book that can be used to teach geography, telling time and time zones, and about the many cultures that make up our world. The lush, striking illustrations alone would make this book a good buy, as each picture is a gorgeous work of art in itself.

    The book has even inspired a beautiful song by the Hudson Valley-based music group Spiral Up Kids. The song, which features accomplished world musician Steve Gorn on the bansuri (Indian flute), can be heard at

    I plan to buy a copy of this book for all the children in my life.

    This charming book presents the concept of time zones so simply that even the youngest of readers and listeners will understand. Each spread depicts an activity and time in one particular part of the world with an accompanying lift-the-flap illustration showing someone involved in their work or play in another time zone. A sweet book for any occasion, not just to learn about time!
      Book Loons - June 19, 2011
    Explaining to children how the different times zones around the world work can be a challenge. In this simple but clever lift-the-flap book, Durga Bernhard tackles the task in a manner that will help children ages five years of age and older understand that not everyone gets up or goes to bed at the same time.

    In fact, that's how the book begins. As a child and her mother are reading a bedtime story, on the other side of the world in Nigeria another little girl is getting up. Lift the flap and you'll see the child in native dress, with a clock showing the time.

    On the next page you see the Nigerian child carrying some food in her village at nine in the morning, while the flap says a boy in Japan is heading home with his friends because it is five in the afternoon.

    And so it goes. The next stop is Mexico, then India, Thailand, Haiti, England, Brazil and then back to Alaska where you started.

    Each time zone spread includes a map so you have a sense of where you are, plus it makes it clear what time it is in the area. Since the characters are all children they are decked out in native dress and engaged in chores or activities they would naturally be involved in in their countries. Hence, besides becoming aware of time zones, the child learns a little something about maps and cultural differences.

    Not an easy concept for even adults to always grasp, this book offers a starting point for understanding international time. If you are planning a trip to a foreign country with a child, this would be an excellent way of introducing the idea of time change.

      Kutztown Fall Book Review - November 10, 2011
    This is A Lift-the-Flap Book of Time Around the World. The basic idea of the book is that while we're sleeping there might be someone in Africa getting dressed, or someone in Japan walking home from school with a friend. The illustrations are great, very colorful, with lots of maps and clocks to show the difference in time and distance around the world. I think this book would be great for teaching young children about time zones. It also may help to teach children about different countries and cultures.