At This Very Moment by Jim Arnosky

At any given moment, a hundred billion things are all happening at the same time: small events like birthday celebrations and holidays, big events like births and deaths, and even non-events like, ahem, fingers tapping on the keyboard typing out a book review. It seems obvious — I mean, just look all around you — but when we’re going about our everyday chores and activities, we’re naturally focused on what we are doing and what is happening to us; rarely does anything jolt us out of our self-absorbed reverie and cause us to stop and think, ‘Hmm, I wonder what else is happening right now…’

But this is exactly what At This Very Moment attempts to do. Instead of asking the reader to imagine what other people are doing, however, this imaginative book invites us to think about the creatures in the animal kingdom and what they are doing over the course of a day, from the break of dawn till nightfall.

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The book’s stunning watercolour illustrations of the various animals are complemented by the dreamy, poetic text that cleverly contrasts what a child does in an average day (wake up, eat breakfast, have dinner, etc.) with something that could be happening in parallel in the wild at the same time — an amazing way to teach empathy by getting kids (and grown-ups) to think outside of their own lives for a change.

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The diversity of the animals featured from different parts of the globe also gives kids an idea of the vastness of the natural world around them. And as a bonus, there are helpful tidbits about some — though not all — of the animals featured, at the end of the book.

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