Around the World on the Longest, Shortest Day

Illustrator: Various

Binding: Hardcover

Imprint: What on Earth Books

Age 7+

Science & Technology: General Interest

Explore the daily lives of children around the world through the lens of a single, special day – June 21st, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and the shortest in the southern hemisphere.

Just two times each year - an event called the solstice - Earth leans closest to our home star, the Sun. Since ancient times, people have used the Sun as a timekeeper. They knew that the length of daylight changes in a regular way and celebrated the solstice as a signal of changing seasons. Solstice imparts scientific and cultural information using the global experience of a solstice as its scientific core, and the descriptions of children’s lives at each latitude as the cultural narrative. It is a browsable nonfiction appealing to informationally minded thinkers aged 7-11. Enhancing the text and illustrations are fascinating infographics about geography, hours of sunlight, sunrise and sunset times, and how the Earth’s tilt creates solstices and seasons. A global event needs a global perspective: non-traditional families, interesting facts that crop up in each account (e.g. in the Chinese entry we learn that pandas need to play or else they get sad). Plus, illustrators for each location represent their home countries with authority and beauty.


Jen Breach is a children's author of fiction and non-fiction. Their writing credits include a graphic literature adventure about a young archeologist and their robot brother (Clem Hetherington and the Ironwood Race, Scholastic 2018) and a picture book about two clueless zookeepers (Something's Amiss At The Zoo, Hachette 2016). They hold an MFA in Writing for Children and Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. They are a mentor for Girls Write Now and The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). Jen identifies as queer and non-binary.

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