I received my copy of When it’s Six O’clock in San Francisco a while back, but I put it away and hadn’t looked at it until today, because I didn’t want to think about anything even remotely related to school so early in my summer holiday. Now that we’re into August, and my mind is starting to turn back to teaching, I thought I could safely pick it up. As it turns out, my feeling that it would be a great teaching book was exactly right. This lovely picture book is the perfect way to help students understand the tricky concept of time zones.
Cynthia Jaynes Omololu has created a text that is accessible and lyrical, and Randy DuBurke’s evocative and warm illustrations bring the multicultural aspect of the work vividly to life. The book begins with a boy waking up one February morning in San Francisco. From there, as the pages turn, the reader moves around the world, from Montréal to Santiago to London and Cape Town and beyond. At each new place, the text starts off, “When it’s six o’clock in San Francisco…” and goes on to give the time in that part of the world and to describe what a child who lives there is doing at that time of day. Omololu describes ordinary things – going to school, playing in a soccer game, running errands, having dinner and cycling home. There is something comforting and beautiful in the way she describes the ordinary events of daily life, and I think kids will appreciate this and make connections to the text easily.
I remember being fascinated as a child by the idea that somewhere on the other side of the world a kid was going to bed when I was just getting up, or heading home from school as I was climbing onto the bus. There was some magic in that, even when I understood the real explanation for it. It made me feel oddly connected to people I knew I would never meet. Omololu’s book captures that spirit, and I imagine it will get kids wondering what other children are doing, at all different times of the day, on the other side of the planet.
When it’s Six O’clock in San Francisco is published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.