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The Most Beautiful Place in the World by Ann…
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The Most Beautiful Place in the World

by Ann Cameron

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An excellent cross-cultural book that teaches children to appreciate and value their own culture and family circumstances. Juan is a young boy from Guatemala who is abandoned by his parents and lives with his grandmother. He must work shining shoes to help his grandmother but longs to go to school and learn. A great book to help children build self-esteem. ( )
  luigiloyola | Nov 28, 2011 |
Juan is a seven-year-old Guatemalan boy (although he is more mature than a boy his age) that his mother abandoned to remarry a man who did not want him. He lives at his grandmother’s house, and works as a shoe shiner. Little by little, he grows dissatisfied with his job, and wants to go to school, like the children who pass by him on their way to school. Afraid that his grandmother will refuse, he does not say anything for a while, and instead teaches himself to read with the help of his customers. Still, his yearning for school has not gone away, and when he finally gathers up the courage to ask his grandmother, her answer and understanding come as a pleasant surprise.

This is a remarkable little book. Despite its shortness, the author manages to expose the reader to the geography of mountainous, rural Guatemala, and also to the different culture. The poverty of the country comes through in this book, but I do not know if the economic situation nowadays is still as bad as when the book was published in 1988. In any case, the first-person narrative by young Juan is sure to put young readers or listeners in his shoes. The language is easy to understand, and the author’s description of Juan’s joys and pains feels authentic. The pencil illustrations convey interesting additional information about the culture and the characters. In addition to exposing readers to a different culture, this book also tackles the universal themes of individual responsibility, love, and quest for knowledge. Ages 6-10. Would work well as a read-aloud in first or second grade. ( )
  alebarbu | Nov 18, 2011 |
9572
  BRCSBooks | Sep 17, 2011 |
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For Pablo Zavala, who introduced me to Guatemala -A. C.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394804244, Paperback)

"Seven-year-old Juan lives in Guatemala, a place of stunning beauty and grim economic reality. Abandoned by his mother, Juan lives with his grandmother and shines shoes. He passionately wants to attend school, but fears Grandmother will say no. Finally gathering his courage, he is surprised when she not only agrees to send him to school but also chides him about the importance of standing up for himself. Juan tells this bittersweet story, which reads smoothly and powerfully on several levels, with warmth and dignity."--Booklist.  

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:02 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Growing up with his grandmother in a small Guatemalan town, seven-year-old Juan discovers the value of hard work, the joy of learning, and the location of the most beautiful place in the world.

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