Title: The World is So Wide | Author: Jess Rush | Illustrator: Kadet Kat | Publication Date: April 30, 2014 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 4 to 8 | Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
Summary: Children often dream of what they’ll be when they grow up, but they don’t always understand just how many wonderful careers their futures could hold.
In The World Is So Wide, author Jess Rush and illustrator Kadet Kat combine their skills to explore the many career possibilities available today. Rush avoids conventional careers, introducing children to job possibilities they probably never considered.
Rush presents a new career for every letter of the alphabet, with each career accompanied by Kat’s bright, vivid illustrations.
While exploring careers and teaching the alphabet, Rush and Kat also promote diversity and acceptance. Different cultures and nontraditional gender roles appear throughout the book, subtly reminding children careers are open to anyone, and encouraging discussion with parents or teachers.
Colorfully illustrated, fun, and informative, The World is So Wide provides an entertaining introduction to career choices for children ages four to eight.
My Thoughts: Every now and then a book crosses my path that I get VERY excited about. The title of this book (The World is So Wide) may not be the flashiest but I was blown away by what the author, Jess Rush, has accomplished with the content of this fantastic picture book. There is so much to love about this book. The main purpose of the book is to present to children a variety of career options (26 to be exact – one for each letter of the alphabet) so they can see the different things they can become when they grow up. It seems like a simple enough concept but the way it is done is brilliant.
First, I love the sheer variety of the careers presented including more familiar ones such as a zoo vet or a dog walker; others representing folks who often work behind the scenes such as an Analyst or a Sous-Chef; some who work in the arts such as a Jazz musician or a Writer; and so much more. And, I LOVE how a “Homemaker” (aka, one of the most difficult and grossly under-payed and under-appreciated jobs there is!) is included as a viable option as well as being a Volunteer. There is no judgment made regarding the social status of any of the jobs – they are all presented as equally important.
Second, the diversity of the characters in their roles is well-represented with regards to ethnicity and gender (although I would have liked to have seen someone in a wheelchair as well). For example, the person working in the Fisheries department is a dark-skinned woman (perhaps of African descent); the Gardener appears to be an Asian male; and the Leader is a Caucasian woman. Further (and here is where I am standing up applauding the author), there are some occupations where the character is placed in non-stereotypical roles. For example, the Maintenance worker is a Caucasian female and the Nanny is a dark-skinned male (does that make him a manny?) With regards to the ethnic and gender diversity of the characters, The World is So Wide is exemplary. Kudos to the author for her thoughtfulness in this regard. You’ve succeeded in letting children know that regardless of their background or gender, there are so many options open to them.
I thought that the accompanying computer-generated illustrations were all bright and colourful and did a great job of depicting the featured career. My kids and I all loved them. When I asked my kids what they wanted to be when they grew up, my daughter picked “Writer” (no surprise there) and my son picked “Zoo Vet” (no surprise there either although the sous-chef page caught his eye!) This is a rhyming picture book and I felt that the author did a great job with both rhyming and meter. There are a few rough patches with meter, but overall, the author accomplished her goal of creating a wonderful rhyming picture book.
My Bottom Line: The World is So Wide is a brilliant rhyming picture book featuring a variety of out-of-the ordinary career choices each starting with a different letter of the alphabet (e.g., barista, jazz musician, sous chef, etc). The author cleverly depicts each career with diverse characters representing both genders and a variety of ethnic backgrounds, many of whom are seen in non-traditional roles. This book really took me by surprise in its originality and its inclusion of diversity. I highly recommend it and I think it would generate a great discussion in a classroom setting or library reading circle or can be enjoyed with any child between the ages 4 to 8.
* This book was provided to me by the author free-of-charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. The author is participating in our Book Promotion Services.*
More Buzz About the Book
“This book has beautiful pictures and is a wonderful discussion book for children regarding career choices. Great choice for parents wanting to open their children’s eyes to diversity and career acceptance at a very young age.” ~ 5 Star Review, S. Atlanta, Amazon
“A great way to show children a wide variety of career and life paths that are available to them. Colorful and incredibly illustrated. The story is meaningful without being preachy. The illustrations bring home the point that anyone and any type or person have so many options available to them. I look forward to more from this writer and this artist.” ~ 5 Star Review, Lynnie B., Amazon
“I ordered this book and read it with my 5 year old daughter. I appreciated the focus on non-traditional careers, and that the characters represent ethnic and gender diversity, and challenge gender roles (a woman portrayed as a maintenance worker for example). My daughter loved the colorful and artful illustrations. The book is a great discussion starter for what career options are out there. ” ~ 5 Star Review, cmk176, Amazon
About the Author
Originally from Fayetteville, GA, Jess Rush is a first-generation college graduate who earned her undergraduate degree from Penn State with a focus on international business. She attended Purdue University, receiving an MBA with specialization in sustainability and operations.
Before business school, Rush spent a summer in Haiti, delivering shoes to those in need and creating more efficient supply chains for urban water projects. In her free time, she writes children’s books, teaches yoga to children, hikes, and plays with her dog Sasha in Oakland, California.