My gifted and talented first graders study geography and choose different countries to research. @storymamas recently tweeted about a book called, This is How We Do It, by Matt Lamothe, and I thought it would be a good resource to use with this class. Children like to see the differences and similarities of places around the world. A few years ago, I sent out a Twitter plea for people from other countries to add pictures of their playgrounds to this slide show, and my students enjoy comparing the sites to our own and finding the locations on a map.
Lamothe went much further than collecting images on a slideshow for his book. You can read about his writing process for This is How We Do It here. He created all of the illustrations in his book based on photographs shared with him by families in seven different countries. My students were fascinated with everything from how the featured children got to school to how they slept. They were surprised by uncanny resemblances to our own culture (they have a Smarboard in their classroom, too!) as well as unimaginable contrasts (an entire family sleeping in one bed!)
You can download a free activity kit to accompany the book here.