“All children, regardless of where they live, should have the opportunity to grow up healthy and lead a productive life,” writes Melinda Gates in her foreword to this, the latest “A Global Fund for Children Book.” As she shares the wrenching statistic that over seven million children die every year before the age of 5, she quotes her father-in-law with a sobering, “these are not just numbers, these are our neighbors.” Indeed, providing every child with a fighting chance at healthy survival should be tasked to every able neighbor throughout our global community.
Get inspired by the happy, hopeful, proud faces of children from all over the world: “Healthy kids grow up strong, active, and ready to go!” Being healthy means sharing a nutritious meal with your family in Vietnam, enjoying a roasted ear of corn in Mexico, or being breast-fed in Cuba. Healthy includes clean water, whether from a water fountain in Japan or a hand pump in India. Healthy means proper hygiene, enjoying an outdoor shower in Taiwan or using a countryside privvy in Sweden.
Staying healthy relies on having a safe, clean home, like a delightfully hand-painted A-frame wooden house in Suriname or a cozy fur-and-rug covered yurt in China. Regular health (shots!) and dental care (toothbrushes!) are a must, as is exercise and just good ol’ playing whether it’s rugby in Australia or sledding in Greenland. Most of all, best of all, healthy kids need families and communities to feel “safe and loved.”
Through the power of diverse photographs, the authors – Global Fund for Children founder Maya Ajmera, Global Fund VP Victoria Dunning, and Director of Global Fund for Children Books Cynthia Pon – subtly, rightfully remind us that ‘healthy’ kids do not mean ‘perfect’ kids. From the smiling Argentinian girl with Downs Syndrome on the first double-page spread, to the laughing Turkish boy with crutches on the last, all children are welcome throughout these vibrant pages.
The final few pages offer additional suggestions on how to get even healthier, no matter where you are. Plant a garden, conserve water, sing the ABC song while you scrub your hands to banish all the germs, recycle, get regular check-ups, keep your brain active by reading books, organize a neighborhood clean-up day, or donate your allowance to organizations committed to better health for kids everywhere.
“Starting with little steps can lead to big changes. So get out there and be a healthy kid!” Parents, too! We’re never too old to be healthy kids, regardless of our long-ago birthdates.