Come Out and Play
Maya Ajmera, author
Maya Ajmera is the founder of the Global Fund for Children and the co-author of more than fifteen books, including To Be a Kid, Faith, and Children from Australia to Zimbabwe. She lives in Washington, DC.
Read more about Maya.
John D. Ivanko, author
John D. Ivanko is an award-winning photographer and author, writer, national speaker, and conservationist who has done a fair bit of globetrotting. In 1992 John jumped off the corporate treadmill at an advertising agency to journey around the world. One year and 29 countries later, he returned to the United States with over 15,000 photographic images and stirring accounts of his journey. He never set foot in a cubicle again.
Read more about John.
An international array of color photographs presents children engaging in many kinds of joyful activities. A child in Madagascar uses tin cans to create a toy car. An Ethiopian kid plucks a stringed instrument. Kids play foosball in Benin, chess in Spain, jacks in Guatemala, and table tennis in the Czech Republic. Two others play in the water with a large leaf and a basket in a photo captioned “Cooling off with a buddy in a river in Thailand.” Children in Mexico and South Africa have fun with bubbles. The South African photo gracing the cover shows a racially diverse group of children on a colorful play structure stretching out their arms to let the bubbles fly up into the sky. Each double-page spread includes a full-bleed photo and then two or three photos on the opposite page on a solid-color background, following the format of other books supporting the Global Fund for Children by this capable author pair. Short phrases in large type explain different ideas about play, and clear captions identify each activity and country. At the end, a map identifies each country’s location, and short paragraphs further explore the book’s themes. Most parts of the world are included, although there could be more from Latin America and the Middle East, and the Caribbean has been neglected. An attractive pictorial offering stressing the universality of children’s play the world over.
Each of the photos in Come Out and Play by Maya Ajmera and John Ivanko speaks volumes about what life is like in various countries. The sentence, "To play means swinging and jumping and running and climbing," covers two spreads and accompanies photos of a child gliding in what appears to be a metal bucket on a brightly colored swing set in Egypt, a child in button-down shirt and tie swinging on a rope in Nepal and children racing barefoot in Nicaragua with their village in the background. More exotic games (such as bao in Ethiopia or catch-the-wolf in Canada) are also featured.
School Library Journal
Colorful, vibrant photographs showcase children in more than 35 countries. The easy-to-read, boldfaced text tells about their leisure activities: "To play means swinging/and jumping/ and running/and climbing." The simple sentences are enhanced by the clear action photographs that effectively illustrate the many forms a particular type of recreation can take. To some children, playing in the water may mean running through a lawn sprinkler; to others, it may mean floating in a stream or paddling a canoe. Picture captions identify the country and activity, affording a cultural panorama--"Leaping through flowers on a kibbutz in Israel"; "Playing bao in the yard in Ethiopia"; "Climbing a tree in the Philippines"; "Playing with a truck in Senegal." The photographs also provide glimpses into the world's different landscapes and environments. Kermit the Frog's foreword conveys the message that play is a universal language. Two pages of endnotes serve as a summary and encourage children to reflect on the many kinds of toys and the importance of imagination and friendship. A great discussion starter.
Page count: 32
8 x 8