Gryphon House: Global Art {TOS Review}

There is no better way to learn more about a country or a foreign place then to dive into its culture through its food, art, customs or history. Global Art manages to accomplish all of those tasks while giving children a better understanding of the people who are represented around the world.

Gryphon House is the publisher behind authors MaryAnn F. Kohl and Jean Potter’s book, Global Art, that introduces children to other cultures through a variety of more than 130 activities that are fun, engaging, practical and educational. I would simply say that Global Art is a craft book, but Kohl and Potter suggest and provide examples of how children can use a little bit more than just scissors and glue to learn about the world.

Global Art is a seven chapter book that crosses all seven continents in its activities and projects. We received a physical copy to review of the book. Chapter one starts with Africa and the chapters continue in alphabetical order to South America. Each chapter is very specific in its presentation of the projects that are shared. Global Art is geared towards elementary aged children, but some of the activities may also appeal to middle school students.

Instead of just listing the variety of activities, Kohl and Potter have taken the time to categorize the activities and projects within its continent by cultural group or country. That makes it easier for a mommy like me to quickly look through the book and find the section with a list of activities and projects that may complement our study on a particular continent and country.

An example is like in chapter one, which covers Africa. Although the continent is the feature, there are activities from Egypt, Malawai, West Africa, Yoruba, Nigeria and more. In chapter three, which is Asia, there are activities from countries like China, Iraq, Japan, Java, Indonesia and more. Global Art is just what it says. It covers the world in activities.

I will note that I only found a few recipes (edible miniatures, from Bolivia in South America and Sandbakelser, from Sweden.) of an edible item in the book, but there are many other (a whole lot) activities to hold your child’s interest and he will soon forget about food.

Also while visiting South America, children may make a rope figure out of hemp, which is an activity from Brazil; or while in North America, they may make clay sun faces, which is from Mexico; or make a stone inlay, which is an item from India and the Asia continent.

The activities are presented in a step-by-step approach, which is great for the student as well as the art-challenged parent working with them. There is also a paragraph of information about each country on the page that lists an activity from that area.

Another feature of the book that is helpful is the use of icons that tell you the experience level of the craft (one to three stars being beginning to experienced respectively); the art technique (ex: painting, collage, construction, etc.); and planning and preparation (possibility of the materials being on-hand to a possible need to purchase).

Many of the activities call for household items that you may already have. I guess that is all relative, but there are some quick and easy ones to start with just in case art needs to grow on you. If that is the case, then it may possibly happen. If you are already a fan of art projects, then Global Art will be a jewel for you.

Children are able to see the process of something being made through the hands-on activities and learn the significance of the item in that culture.

We were able to complete a few of the activities that included the Yarn Art from Mexico and the edible miniatures, from Bolivia in South America.

Overall, Global Art has been a welcome addition to our school. When we continue in our international studies this school year, I will be referring frequently to the book for more activities to enhance our study.

It is funny how some things come full circle. I own a copy of Bubbles, Rainbows, and Worms, which is an original publication of Gryphon House. The book is still in print, but my copy is an original. Gryphon House has been distributing quality books since 1979 and publishing the same since 1981. Although my copy is old, I have no plans of tossing it out.

Regardless of whether or not international studies are included in your school year, Global Art would be a great addition in your classroom.

Global Art is available in print for $16.95.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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