Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World

Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World by Susan Hughes takes a peek into unusual classrooms in this testament to the amazing resiliency of both education and children around the globe. This book has been nominated for a Cybils award in the MG/YA nonfiction category.

“When you think about going to school, what do you imagine?” A traditional brick schoolhouse? The schools in this book are far from traditional, including floating schools on boats, schools in caves, and even schools on platforms of train stations. Susan Hughes did a fabulous job finding a good sampling of truly unique and diverse schools, and explaining the circumstances that led to their unusual conditions. She even mentions the “unschooling” form of homeschooling in the United States.

Laid out as a series of two-page spreads, each turn of the page reveals another school. Often you wish the author had included more information, because each story is so fascinating. Fortunately, there are links in the back to many of the organizations that run the schools if you want to find out more. The book is loaded with color photographs and plenty of maps to help with orientation, as well.

This is definitely a kid-friendly and inspiring book, and it stands on its own.  However, although I don’t usually do this, today I’m going to suggest pairing this book with the visually dazzling Children of the World: How We Live, Learn, and Play in Poems, Drawings, and Photographs by Anthony Asael and Stephanie Rabemiafara, with a forward by Ann M. Veneman, and with The Mysteries of Angkor Wat by Richard Sobol. What an opportunity to learn about culture and geography through the lives of children from around the globe!

See a recent review of Off to Class at Jean Little Library

Reading level: Ages 9 and up
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Owlkids Books (August 30, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1926818857
ISBN-13: 978-1926818856

The book was provided electronically by the publisher for review purposes.

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.

This week’s post is at Gathering Books.