A Message from the Publisher
DO YOU REMEMBER the first time you ever experienced a different culture from your own? I do. I was ten years old, living in Bakersfield, California, and was invited to a birthday party at the house of a new friend.
I don’t remember a lot about the party, but the one thing I do remember is a game we played. A colorful paper structure (in the shape of a donkey, as I recall) was hung from a tree. Then, one by one, we were all blindfolded and took turns swinging a stick at the structure until it broke open, spilling out lots of candies and fruits, and small toys. It was, to my young mind, the coolest party game EVER.
I can’t say for sure that the Mexican piñata alone is what set me on a lifelong path to “discover the world.” But I do know that the Mexican traditions I experienced that day—the fabulous Mexican food (tortilla chips with refried beans is still my favorite), the Mariachi-style folk music, and even the Jarabe Tapatío (or Mexican hat dance)—all sparked my curiosity about other cultures in the world and pointed me in the right direction.
Maybe that is why today, I’m so passionate about helping young readers experience our awesome world and its diverse cultures—cultures that offer a rich mosaic in language, food, religion, art, music, and, yes, even party games. The world truly is an amazing place, filled with fascinating people (think the Maasai of Kenya), breathtaking landmarks (the Taj Mahal in India, for one), and truly majestic wildlife (honestly, where do we even begin).
Four years ago, having spent more than 30 years as an editor and writer in educational publishing—first at Children’s Television Workshop’s Sesame Street and The Electric Company and later at Scholastic Inc.—I had the opportunity to achieve a long-held dream by co-founding, along with designer Michael Owens, Curious Kids Press (CKP), an educational publishing company devoted to publishing fun-to-read books for young readers about our awesome world.
Now, with more than 20 titles in our “A Kid’s Guide to...” series for ages 8-13 (and four titles in our new “Let’s visit...” series for younger readers), we continue to be passionate about introducing kids to our wonderfully diverse world.
Not long ago I came across an article titled “The 10 Most Fascinating Cultures in the World.” “Really?” I thought. “Only 10?”
I know there are far more, and hope to introduce Curious Kids everywhere to those rich and fascinating cultures and traditions—such as the Mexican traditions I experienced as a ten-year-old—as together we “discover the world.”