Celebrating: Truths

Celebrating Truth There's a Book for That

Celebration honoured. This is the loveliest of reasons to share. Join Ruth Ayres who shares a Celebration Link up on her blog each week.

This week I am celebrating truth. Three pieces of the truth.

Truth that just needs to come out. Truth that speaks to our hearts. Truth that is uttered so beautifully by children.

Truth #1 In the last few years I have learned an important lesson a few times over. Sometimes we need to write to have our truths have weight. More than venting, more than organizing our thinking, writing is also about being read. It is about the response. It is about knowing that someone else might feel the same.

Last week I wrote a post, that for me, needed to be written. In fact, it had been brewing for quite some time: The Part That is True This post talks about Harry, a student who needs flexibility, compassion and respect, not judgement and rejection. The amazing response – via twitter, blog comments and sharing gave me strength and hope. There are many Harrys who need us all.

Thank you to everyone for honouring Harry and how much he matters.

Truth #2 Mid week, I came across this brilliant piece by author and parent Anne Ursu. I love Anne’s novels. Her words are magical. But her voice extends far beyond the world of fiction and speaks to how we treat each other and how we raise our children to understand their peers. Thank you Anne for this: On Autism, Birthday Cards and Empathy It is an absolute must read.

Truth #3 Listen to children talk about big issues and it can be kind of amazing. Especially because they have no idea they are talking about something big. They are just talking about their world – what they wonder, what they notice, what they think. So they talk in terms stripped of jargon, careful word choice and apologies. They just call it. This is part of why I love my job. Children’s voices.

Here’s the story I want to share: My Teacher Librarian and I met with our Gr 2/3 book club today to discuss our book Charlotte’s Web. One child talked about how even though it was fiction, it was kind of cool that we were learning about animals. Then we started talking about how many books have animal characters. We actually looked through a stack of picture books recently read by guest readers. Many of them featured animals. The conversation turned to why. Are animals easier to draw? Do authors/illustrators think we don’t want to see human characters in books? This brought us to what had been some of the most powerful books in our class this year. We realized many of these stories had human characters.

This is a long story to get here: One girl shared,

“But why do the illustrators not draw enough mixed/ different skin? Why don’t they show people from different places? It kind of makes me mad because there are lots of different colours of skin in our class. Lots of books don’t look like they have very real classrooms.”

Then these girls (five girls, all from a different ethnic background, it just so happens) put their arms next to each other and smiled about how all of their skin had different colours.

In this discussion about the big topic of diversity or lack of it in our picture books, not one child mentioned race, ethnicity or culture. They just talked about the colour of their skin: celebrated all of the different hues and lamented that they didn’t see this in lots of picture books. Simply, their truth.

I told this to my husband later and he noted how wonderful it is that these children didn’t see colour in a way that leads to judgement. Instead they boasted about how wonderful it is that we have lots of colours of skin in our room.

*Just before our session ended, one girl grabbed a recent read aloud, Emily’s Art by Peter Catalanotto and we all looked at the first few pages of the children sitting at the carpet.

“Oh he did a good job. Look there are lots of skin colours with these kids. This classroom looks real.”

 From Emily's Art Celebrating Truth There's a Book for That

23 thoughts on “Celebrating: Truths

  1. Carrie,
    You hit the big things AGAIN in this post. I’m such a believer in your #3. They speak such truth and that is really the joy we find. Keeping true to those truths is also why we teach. Love, love, love this post. Thanks for sharing your truths and your lovely students.
    Juiieanne

  2. Your post certainly sings of “truths.” Through the eyes of children, unobstructed by the “fake rules” of society, we can see that we are all different and yet the same. Thank you for the reminders.

  3. Your students know the truth better than many in our world, Carrie. And I think that one of the reasons is probably the way you run your class. So great that your post got such love, it was important to me! Finally, thanks for Anne Ursu’s link, will go over to read! Have a terrific weekend!

  4. “Listen to children talk about big issues and it can be kind of amazing. Especially because they have no idea they are talking about something big. They are just talking about their world – what they wonder, what they notice, what they think. So they talk in terms stripped of jargon, careful word choice and apologies. They just call it. This is part of why I love my job. Children’s voices.”

    I so love this – you are exactly right, Carrie. Children’s voices lead us to truths. Let’s listen.

  5. Wonderful words, my friend. I love your #3 as I have often notice students speaking about such big issues without even realizing it. Great connection to Emily’s Art – something I hadn’t noticed about the illustrations but how wonderful your students did. Your words are touching many – keep writing! Have a wonderful weekend. I’m in Phoenix at a hockey tournament! It’s 85 degrees!

  6. Carrie~ How am I JUST TODAY finding all you have to share! Your post are amazing and full of thoughts that will take me weeks to process. I have my writers notebook to my right and I have filled an entire page with ideas inspired in reading this post, your class sight and your post about the importance of reading!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts many are thinking because of you!

  7. We may hope that your students will keep their open mind and some of them will become writers and illustrators who honor and celebrate diversity.
    Thank you for sharing your Harry story and link to Anne Ursu’s writing.

    • You know – I think some of these girls do have the voice within them that may one day come out in writing – books, songs, who knows!? You are welcome re the other links. Glad you enjoyed them.

  8. I loved your story about Harry and this post as well, especially truth #3. I also enjoyed Anne Ursu’s post. So many things to think about from you today! Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s