In light of Geography Awareness Week, Debbie Glade reviews a fact-and-photo-filled book about Cambodia.

Did you know that Cambodia’s Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the entire world? It was built in 1100 C.E. during the Khmer Empire. The architects of this grand structure designed it around the sun’s movement, planning out where each and every shadow would fall. These and many other fascinating facts can be found in The Mysteries of Angkor Wat: Exploring Cambodia’s Ancient Temple ($17.99, Candlewick Press, Ages 6 and up) by author Richard Sobol.

Back in January I reviewed Richard Sobol’s wonderful book, The Life of Rice. This author and award-winning photographer must be commended for his continuing efforts to increase geography awareness through his children’s books. In Angkor Wat, Sobol takes readers through the history of the ancient structure and also writes about his most interesting personal travel experiences while in Cambodia. The building of this Buddhist temple remains a mystery, as it is unclear how the sheer number of massive stones used to build it were moved into place thousands of years ago.

What I love about this book is that there is a perfect blend of Cambodian history, modern life and culture, and the photographs are spectacular. The author describes his experience touring the structure with local children, who lead him to a very special place to share a secret about Angkor Wat. He writes in a way that really makes readers feel like they are right there with him touring Cambodia.

I highly recommend this book as a way to teach children about the world. Please note that the story is a bit long and sophisticated for most six-year-olds to read on their own. However the book is ideal for reading together with your young child.

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