9 Kilometers

Eerdmans. Feb. 2023. 56p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780802856005.
Gr 1-2–In this empathy-building picture book, a simple first-person narration is employed to share the story of a young boy traveling on foot to school in rural Chile across the titular nine kilometers, or 5.59 miles. His walk begins in the dark and cold as he ponders math equations using his own route, estimating the number of skips it would take to cross the distance he walks, and how slowly a snail or how quickly a puma might travel the same distance. His path takes him on roads, through wooded areas, beneath a barbed wire fence, through a pasture, and across a stream. As the boy travels closer to school, the illustrations become more verdant and lush. The book begins with a helpful guide converting metric distance to imperial miles. Endpapers map the route as it would be seen from above, describe the various Chilean birds depicted in the illustrations, and share examples from other countries in which children walk several kilometers to reach school each day.
VERDICT With an overarching message that education is well worth the walk, this book is recommended for all picture book collections.

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