Monday, 29 November 2010

Mission:Explore Review

As a mother with three daughters  I was intrigued by this book, Mission:Explore.  It has been approved by the Pink Stinks Campaign for real role models for girls. They "believe that body image obsession is starting younger and younger, and that the seeds are sown during the pink stage, as young girls are taught the boundaries within which they will grow up, as well as narrow and damaging messages about what it is to be a girl."  They aim to promote  the importance of  positive gender roles to girls.  This book is gender neutral and promotes a positive message to young people giving both boys and girls the same opportunities.  So it is perfect for young girls (no princesses, fairies or pink sparkles here!!)

Mission:Explore has been created by The Geography Collective. They say:

"Mission:Explore is a project to encourage (young) people to see, explore and make sense of the world in new ways.The Mission:Explore book includes 102 missions that challenge you to (re)discover our world. Each illustrated mission will get you questioning, playing, experimenting and researching before rubbing, writing, scribbling, sketching, smearing, scraping or drawing your findings on its pages."

National Geographic say:  "Mission:Explore is bold, cool, exciting, innovative, geographic, educational…and just plain fun! Every curious kid, budding geographer, and responsible parent should have a copy!".

It is aimed at children aged 10+ years old and challenges them to go out into their neighbourhood to complete tasks and explore their environment.  This ethos reminds me of my own childhood where I'd be out and about all day, exploring, building camps and inventing things to do.  These days children tend not to play in this way, so it is an interesting concept to introduce these ideas by way of this interactive pocket book. Issues of personal safety are dealt with well.  Learning to play safely out of doors and assessing risks are essential life skills. Children are given the opportunity to question things that they may otherwise take for granted.  They are even encouraged to engage with local politics and think about issues that effect them.

The style is really kooky with fabulous cartoon illustrations, and is written with a real sense of humour.  I sniggered my way through the pages!  I really liked the mission to 'make your local area more friendly'.  It empowers young people to make a difference in their community and think about the needs of others.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and was taken back to my own childhood.  To be very honest, I wouldn't be comfortable with my youngest daughter being out without a responsible adult.  I know this is a common apprehension felt by many parents in this day and age.  However, the missions would be fantastic starting points for family adventures, enabling younger children to take part in the activities and engage with mum and dad in a fun way in the process.  Older children could enjoy their own adventures using this book and following the safety guidelines.  It is such an original, witty and enjoyable read, which is interactive and engaging. The ethos is to get children to play outdoors to explore, discover and learn,  bringing this freedom back to our children in a thought provoking, intelligent way!  Profits are used to provide books for underpriveleged children giving them the same opportunities to enjoy this book.  I'd definitely recommend it.

Available from Amazon.

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