Rosemary McCarney and Plan International, The Way to School

New Internationalist, 2015, ISBN 978-1-78026-343-4

The Way to School is a powerful book of photos highlighting the extraordinary journeys some children face to get to school each day. (Assuming they can even go to school. The sparse text explains first that some children can't get an education even though they want it because they have to work or because natural disasters have destroyed their schools.) A series of dramatic and awe-inspiring pictures shows children's journeys in a variety of mostly rural areas, many of them poverty or disaster stricken, in different parts of the world. We see children braving mountain tracks, ladders up vertical cliffs, perilous bridges, vertiginous donkey trails, a glacier with deep crevasses, in their determination to get an education. There are children who reach school with the help of dog teams, and some who ride water buffaloes. Some have to carry basins of water to school on their heads. Some have to bring their own desks. Some zip themselves to ropes.

This will be an eye-opener for readers who reach school in less challenged circumstances. The hazards and hardships that children in so many parts of the globe face on a daily basis provide a new perspective on what life is like for others, and are likely to inspire a greater appreciation of the value of education. These are the last words of the book: 'It's always worth the journey.'

An extremely valuable addition to primary school collections, this will provoke important thoughts and discussions, and will supply a very useful starting point to lots of further research. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to Plan International, a charity that campaigns on children's rights and equality for girls all over the world.