The following story, for grades 3-6, will help North American children to understand the varieties of lives of their peers in other places. It is most effective if it is read by at least two people. Encourage comparisons (similarities as well as differences) amongst the characters in the story and also with your own lives.
Brian grabs a few of his books, slams his locker shut, and heads out the door with a crowd of students. Inside his bus it is noisy as children shout and tease each other. Brian sighs because the bus is almost full and he will have to share a seat, probably with one of the little kids. He wishes his older sister could have picked him up today. Sometimes she does when she drives the car to her high school. The bus stops at Brian’s driveway, and he gets out.
Min-Wha is a twelve-year-old girl who lives in the huge city of Seoul in South Korea. The long school day is over, and she is on her way home to get her violin for her lesson. She gets onto the subway. It is filled with passengers as usual but everyone has a seat. There is only one seat left. Min-Wha’s backpack is heavy with tonight’s homework, so she is glad to sit down. At the next stop three women get on, so Min-Wha immediately stands up and offers her seat to one of the women. It is a custom that a younger person always gives her seat to someone older. Soon the train arrives at Min-Wha’s stop. She gets off the subway and walks the remaining streets to her home.
Brian unlocks the front door to his house. Everything is quiet. He’s hungry, so he puts a bag of popcorn into the microwave. Brian flops down on the family room couch and flips on the television. He watches an old cartoon while he eats the popcorn. Then he goes over to the computer to play a game, taking the television remote control with him so he can flip tv channels. He is engrossed in his game when his mother comes home from work. “I brought some take-out food for dinner,” she says. “Your dad is working late, and your sister is at play practice, so they won’t be here to eat with us.” “My hockey game is at 6:30,” Brian reminds her. “I remember,” his mom assures him.