Oh Picture Book, how lovely thou art. Thou attests a beauty that is indescribable and unrelenting. A magical influence at best, and a heart wrenching testament like none other, you steal away our passion and hold it prisoner. Freedom is not our wish. Oh Picture Book, how we adore you so.
When I have to tell the story of how Imagiread originated, I usually find myself starting the story with “it was born out of love for picture books…”. I feel like I have to lay the proper foundation for people to truly understand just how serious it is and why I am so in love with the idea of teaching children to identify with literal contexts through picture books. Educating little ones about the world of literacy is so much smoother with a picture book present. Not only does it perk up the moods of the reader and listener but it teaches awareness and mindfulness, some things a majority of our children need the most.
Today marks the first day of February. It reminds me of my crazy relationship with the month, mostly because of the traditions it holds. First, it’s coined Black (or as I read the other day African American) History Month. As a woman of color, I find it difficult to subscribe to the notion that I should recognize, teach and celebrate the month any differently than I already do. My students and colleagues know that I don’t tolerate separatism and that all of Imagiread’s programming is developed from socially responsible and culturally appropriate literacy materials. Basically, we celebrate Black History every day sometimes more than once a day. That and every other culture, notice I said culture and not race or ethnicity, that exists on the planet. Aliens too. With and without space ships. It doesn’t matter who our study/project is about per se’ more than it is about what we can derive and learn from the literal experience. The second reason I have challenges with the month is because of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is just…..I don’t know what to say about it, so I’ll reserve my soap box. I will say this much however, I’m hopeful that in its celebration that children come to understand a credible fact, that being how love and the sharing of love in the purest form really is the answer. No matter what. All the stuff….not so much unless it’s in a book. Now books are totally acceptable on Valentine’s Day. There’s one in particular that children should share as it is fitting for the holiday and to kick off our Book Love feature. It’s title, A Simple Rose.
I reviewed A Simple Rose and integrated it into Imagiread’s programming years ago when Kortisha Y. Baker, the author, sent me a copy to review here on the blog. I usually hold on to a book to see how I can incorporate it into a lesson in some way but with A Simple Rose, I immediately knew I’d integrate it, and I did because it has a powerful message. That one simple rose, card, and/or piece of candy is a huge gesture for a child who has never received such a thing. I was completely moved by the story and how strong Addison, the main character, was through her experiences. Her courage was unrelenting and she persevered despite all of the torment she grew to endure daily. For that reason alone, the read deserves our very first Book Love Letter, and here it is:
February 1, 2018
I hope you are having a beautiful day today. I just read about you, and the rose you got in A Simple Rose. It was such a warming story, one that I don’t think I could ever forget. I’m writing to tell you how much I enjoyed the story but also to tell you how you helped me to see that courage is more than just an act; it’s an attitude even when you don’t feel so courageous. In A Simple Rose, when those girls kept on trying you, doing all of those nasty things to you, you held your ground and didn’t let them say just anything to you. You told them exactly how you felt and that’s a big deal. Speaking up for yourself is so important, especially when people are trying to bully you.
This Valentine’s Day I hope you a get a whole dozen of roses. You are just that special. Thank you for sharing your story with me and my class.
With Book Love,
So…how’d I do? Read the book and write your own love letter to Addison and tag us using #bookloveforAddison. She’s just that cool that she needs her own hashtag. Stay tuned for our next three highlights during the month of February, celebrating the books I love to teach with. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates. Until next time, happy Imagireading!