March 27, 2023

I Love My City

Written by France Desmarais and Richard Adam
Illustrated by Yves Dumont
Translated by Nicholas Aumais
Pajama Press
56 pp.
Ages 8-12
March 2023

From issues of transportation and land use, to balancing human needs with environmental stewardship and sustainability, urban studies are an important part of the school curricula from Grades 3 upwards. But focusing on cities in all their nuances, from their histories to their economies, politics, services, and cultures, is a tall order. Still, France Desmarais gives us that big picture because of Richard Adam's background in urban studies, architecture, and public administration. And so, the story of cities is told.
From I Love My City by France Desmarais and Richard Adam, illus. by Yves Dumont
In a well-organized and comprehensive story, France Desmarais and Richard Adam explain how and where cities were first established. They cover the different types of cities across the globe, from favelas to megacities. They also look within those cities for those who manage cities, from City Halls to urban planners and all the services needed to ensure functioning hubs. Water filtration, wastewater systems, renewable and non-renewable sources of energy, and transportation are all covered in some depth but never so expansive that the reader will bore or get lost. Beyond the information, which usefully includes bolded words for emphasis, including demonym, funicular and hydroelectricity, there are anecdotes from around the world to add interest and demonstrate relevance. From the Zabbaleen of Cairo and the invention of the traffic lights and the underground reservoirs of Montreal, young readers will visit cities of the world and look deep into their infrastructures and their efforts to balance populations with environment.
From I Love My City by France Desmarais and Richard Adam, illus. by Yves Dumont
Beyond the content, though, are Yves Dumont's illustrations that show the breadth of cities through time and space. Whether it's the plans of cities to integrate all housing, transport and services, or stylized depictions of power plants, or busy couriers on bikes and commuters on public transport, Montreal's Yves Dumont brings cities to life. He gives them colour and motion, purpose and serenity. He makes them everything to everyone, just as are the cities which have evolved in our world.
From I Love My City by France Desmarais and Richard Adam, illus. by Yves Dumont
Teachers don't need to wait until World Cities Day (October 31) to use I Love My City in their classrooms. With discussions from history and civics, architecture and energy, I Love My City will be a useful teaching tool and readable book of non-fiction for young readers every day of the year.

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