A Day With Musa : CAFOD book review

Russ recently went to launch a new book for Cafod who do some fantastic books and teaching resources for children:

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I was recently lucky enough to work with 50 infant pupils from St Teresa’s Catholic primary school in Preston who joined CAFOD for a special launch event of A  Day With Musa –CAFOD’s brand new book for children.

I presented the book and used it to help them learn about life in Bangladesh from the point of view of a young boy called Musa. The book, aimed at 4- 7 year olds, follows a typical day in the life of Bangladeshi schoolboy, looking at the beauty and vibrancy of life in Bangladesh through colourful images, and encourages an understanding of the wider world.

After the reading, the children took part in a number of activity stations designed to help them learn more about some of the themes in the book, such as how water is precious, what transport is like, and they had the opportunity to play a traditional Bangladesh game.

Cafod do a lot of fundraising, and the event was an excellent way to show the children examples of how the money they raise is being spent and the people it helps.”

A Day with Musa Review

A day with Musa takes us on a journey of an ordinary day for an ordinary child in Bangladesh. It raises the simple question of how are we different, while cleverly showing children how fundamentally we are all the same, regardless of skin, language or belief.

The book is simple in its delivery and that is what makes it so accessible on all levels. Teachers can adapt the questioning from simple “what do you see?” type questions to much deeper and philosophical questioning such as “why do we think this is different?” As well as using the fantastic direct questions on each page.

A day with Musa can be used in class in a variety of ways, I found it easiest to section the book as individual events within the “day” we took two pages a day over a school week and shared it with the children. Raising the questions of what’s different and similar constantly. The book lends itself to exposing simple diversity that even the youngest of children can see. When I use the book again I may even consider having a Musa day, whereby we undertake our normal school day but run Musa’s day alongside ours in “real time” this reinforces to the children the things different cultures take for granted.

I initially thought the topics of school and religion may have been the pages to promote most talk, however within my class the animals, games and transport were the hands down winners!

This big book is perfect to convey the beauty, colour and diversity associated with this wonderful country. It highlights these in a simple and vibrant way. The questioning is open ended and is a perfect way for this big book to promote big talk. Children will love the large colour photographs which transport us, the reader, to everyday life in Bangladesh. The similarities and differences between the UK are almost limitless. This big book is a must for any KS1 class or community group, its uses are as diverse as its contents.

This big book should be used within school to promote positive thinking towards differences, yes we may look different, yes we may not eat the same way, play the same way, worship the same way and live the same way, but diversity should be embraced as fundamentally we are all exactly the same. The promotion of this at as young an age as possible is surely a great thing.

A day with Musa is available to buy now from Matthew James Publishers: £12.50 for the big book including activities that span the curriculum, and £4.50 for the small book including children’s activities for at home.

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