Tools for Schools

“For those who now live in more stable neighborhoods, it may seem incomprehensible how prosperity in high-income countries and a sophisticated global economy can coexist with … misery in other parts of the globe.”


-       The World Development Report 2011

 We’ve all heard the phrase “global village.” Educator, philosopher and prophet Marshall McLuhan coined the term to describe how our world was contracting — the Internet made it a reality.

But when you’re talking about a village with numbers of inhabitants that soar into billions, it can be challenging enough for adults to make sense of all the variations that come with life on planet Earth. So how do you help children feel a connection to – and empathy for – their fellow human beings half a world away? At, we believe it helps to make the village kid-sized.

If the World Were a Village (Second Edition) is a book that does just that. Written for children ages 8 to 12 by educator David J. Smith, it captures in words and illustrations what real life is like – in terms of school and work, money and possessions, food, water and more – for the world’s citizens.

By imagining our global population as a village of just 100 people while keeping statistical ratios accurate, the book presents startling insights into the people who call our planet “home,” and tells us both who we are and how we live. For example, 61 of this imaginary village’s residents are from Asia while 5 are from Canada and the United States. Nine speak English. Almost half of the villagers (47) cannot always be sure they will have enough to eat.

The book, which has sold over 400,000 copies in 17 languages, contains creative ideas for activities and games to foster “world-mindedness” in children, encouraging them to see themselves and others as important, contributing parts of the interconnected web of life that spans the globe.


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