People (Peter Spier)


Hello, friends! In honor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, we read People by Peter Spier, a stunningly illustrated exploration of worldwide cultures.

There are a great many people that share our earth, billions to be exact. And those billions of people come in all shapes and sizes, colors, cultures, religions, and more. People eat different foods, they celebrate different holidays, they speak different languages. All of these things are beautiful, unique, and part of what makes our diverse, multicultural world wonderful.

Visually, this is a stunning book. Spier’s detailed, intricate illustrations are endlessly fascinating, and you could spend an hour picking out the fine details included on every page. Plus, the core message, that diversity is one of the great and precious elements of our world, is important and treated with earnest reverence. But in a book published nearly 40 years ago, there are some cringe-worthy bits (outdated statistics, Inuits referred to as “Eskimos,” a depiction of Black Peter, to name a few). It’s also an overtly honest book, discussing death, inequity of power, poverty, and other realities of life, a fact that can be viewed positively or negatively based on your preference. It even features a bit of nudity in a title page that depicts a tiny Adam and Eve (just their bare tushies, but still).

I’ve heard that in later editions, some updates to the text were made, but I cannot speak to them (we read the original 1980 copy). Overall, this is a gorgeous book that means well, but shows its age. JJ really enjoyed it, too, so I’m torn. I would say give this one a read first (the updated version would likely be preferable), and see if it’s right for your child. But for its art and overall message, we’ll call this Baby Bookworm approved (with an asterisk).

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