Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Alpha Bravo Charlie

If this is a common scene on your living room floor (don't ask me what the astronaut thinks he's doing on a battlefield),

this book might belong on your coffee table:

Chris L. Demarest's Alpha Bravo Charlie has been popular in my house for several years now. Actually, a number of Demarest's books have been read thin to and by my boys including his tremendous alphabet book, Firefighters A to Z. Alpha Bravo Charlie presents a different alphabet, the International Communications Alphabet, used in the military, law enforcement, and civil aviation to clarify communication. Each page presents one letter, its corresponding US Navy signal flag, a sentence using that letter, and a colorful, energetic accompanying photograph. For example, the F page tells us that F is for foxtrot and shows foot soldiers wearing bulletproof flak jackets. Yes, my boys have loved all the pictures of soldiers and fighter jets, submarines and paratroopers, but they love that the ICA can be used like a code as well. I treasure notes from my son Aaron where he signed his name as "Alpha Alpha Romeo Oscar November." Moreover, the book is a great teaching tool about the need for clear communication. It has inspired us to talk about why they see police on television shows call in license plate numbers using ICA. We imagine the consequences if an air traffic control tower confused an "m" for "n." That is a nice segue for a math lesson on military time and how its purpose, removing ambiguity, is similar. Although this book will definitely appeal most to the kid whose pockets are filled with toy army men, it has some great educational uses for all kids. If only it could teach those first kids to take the army men out of their pants pockets before tossing those pants in the laundry!

1 comment:

Laura Zieger said...


Imagine if this book became one of the augmented reality ibooks?