Author: Kathryn Starke

Publisher: Creative Minds Publications

ISBN: 0-9769737-0-7

Click Here To Purchase Amy's Travels

Based on a real-life character, Amy Kramer, Amy’s Travels tells the story of a globe-trotting girl who visits all seven continents on earth in turn. After being shown a sketched world map of all the continents, the reader is taken in turn for a fleeting visit to each continent, starting with Antarctica and ending with Australia.

Each visit consists of at least one full-page color drawing of some typical aspect of the continent, which is accompanied by a page of text. For Antarctica, there is a picture of penguins on the edge of a sheet of ice. Starke explains that few people live there because it is so cold, and invites the reader to consider whether they have ever met someone who lives there. Such questioning prompts the reader to consider their own experiences in relation to a little known element, thus prompting the growing child to think about their own life experiences. The linguistic aspect of life on other continents is emphasized in Starke’s reference to the Spanish language that is spoken in Peru. The familiar family setting of a brother and sister playing indoors, with clothing hanging on a washing line outside, should be reassuring to the child reader. Later in the reader, Amy visits the Amazon Rain Forest of Peru. Though I tend to associate the Amazon more with Brazil than I do with Peru, the description of the Rain Forest is very appealing: “The neatest thing about this place is that at night you can take a canoe ride on the Amazon River to see monkeys, bat caves, and frogs.”

The linguistic element is continued in Amy’s next visit, which is to Kenya. We are told that ‘Jambo’ means “hello in Swahili, the native language of Kenya.” The emphasis here is placed on the number of small huts that are used as a school. Such a focus draws attention to the fact that other peoples in the world live in different settings, thereby stimulating the interest in, and curiosity about, what makes contrasting cultures unique. Amy next goes on safari with her brother, during which time they see lions, zebras and hippopotamuses, all of which are portrayed in both words and pictures.

Amy’s next visit is to Holland, which Starke writes “is famous for its hills and windmills” (rather unusual that, as one tends to think of the country as flat). The illustration is, naturally enough, of a windmill. Starke describes how Amy moved to North America when she was eleven years old, and finds that the “coolest thing about the United States is that they have four seasons—fall, spring, summer, and winter.” Truth to tell, I did not find that overly unusual, but perhaps it might be for those who live in totally different climate zones. Amy’s visit to Asia shows camels trekking through the sandy desert, which is a soundly conceived idea, exposing the child reader to an animal which might be totally unknown. Lastly, kangaroos and koalas are portrayed in Amy’s visit to Australia. Starke ends Amy’s worldwide adventures with an enticing question: “So, what continent will you visit first?”

As an elementary school teacher, Starke says that she is on the constant lookout for additional books and lessons to add to the curriculum in her classroom. She, therefore, includes one activity-based lesson, using Amy’s Travels, per grade for all grades from kindergarten to fifth grade. Satisfying some of the core requirements of the Virginia Standards of Learning, Amy’s Travels is a stimulating and interesting text, which teaches children varied world perspectives in a meaningful and relevant way.

Click Here To Purchase Amy's Travels