Tag Archives: new experiences

Bridging the Generations

14 Nov

When writing for children, especially picture books, we need to remember the adult as well. We’ve often heard, it’s the adults who are the gatekeepers to children’s literature. Will they read this book repeatedly? Will they purchase this book? Today I want to add one more, Will they find themselves in this book? Today I did just that.

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Little Tree is a book about holding on and letting go. It’s a book about facing an unknown future. It’s a book about growing up.

It’s written for children. It’s written for adults. I’ll bet, it’s written for you.

For a summary of the story and suggested activities for Little Tree look HERE.

I met Loren Long, author and illustrator of Little Tree this morning. He was kind and giving with his audience. He shared his story of a little tree with us. It’s a story of watching his firstborn embark on his school career. Not once, but twice. He retold how frightening those experiences were for him as a parent watching his son go off to kindergarten… and then to college. And, we got to meet his son the college student and inspiration for the story, and see what a wonderful relationship they have and watch them work together on a piece of art for the bookstore.

 

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Here’s a picture of Loren sharing my favorite page:

“As his last leaf floated to the ground, for the first time Little Tree felt the harsh cold of winter.”

The artwork is stunning. And the text reminds me that when you finally let go of something that’s been holding you back, it can be cold and scary. But in the end, you know you that in order to grow… you must first let go.

Think back to the times it was hard for your little ones to let go… let go of their binky, let go of diapers, let go of their afternoon naps, let go of your hand in the school parking lot. It was a cold and scary time for them. You were there to dry their tears, give them comfort, help them through it.

And think of the times it was hard for you to let go and watch them grow. I think about the times when they fell and scraped their knees, when they boarded their first school bus, when they wanted to be dropped off at the mall without me, when they got their hearts broken for the first time, when they moved out of town. It really did feel like a harsh cold winter. I thought my heart was dying. But each time they came back to me taller and stronger… more of who they were and less of who I was. And it felt good.

See, what I mean about writing across generations? Loren Long has done that beautifully. I hope you pick up a copy for yourselves and feel the splendor of letting go as a wonderful thing.

 

 

 

Planet Kindergarten

30 Jun

18228483Planet Kindergarten written by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and illustrated by Shane Prigmore (2014)

The main character tells the story of his first day of kindergarten. It’s a strange and unusual place. He is prepared with his medical check-up and supplies. Then the day arrives, his father takes him in his rocket booster. The boy is afraid they might crash into a comet or get sucked into a black hole. When he arrives, he is assigned to his commander, capsule, and crew mates. There are many aliens from many different galaxies on Planet Kindergarten. Mission Control calls on the intercom welcoming them all on their journey. The boy notices that everyone has to get used to the new atmosphere where gravity works differently. At recess, he leaves the capsule with his crew mates to explore and test the situation. After a disagreement over the equipment he and another crew mate have to sit in isolation. Back in the capsule, they run experiments and write in their logs. At lunchtime, he learns that he loves space food! Afterwards, he has trouble with rest time and worries that he’s running out of oxygen. Then he remembers the NASA motto: Failure is not an option. He takes a deep breath and gets back to work. Before he knows it, his mission is complete and his parents rush to greet him. Back home on his own planet, it’s splashdown then time for bed. This time he’s ready and thinking about returning the next day.

Sue Ganz-Schmitt writes this story with imagination and just enough space jargon to keep little explorers involved and interested in the boy’s adventure in kindergarten.

Shane Prigmore’s illustrations are quirky and action packed. Readers will enjoy exploring each page for unusual details.

I think this book will be a great help in preparing little ones for kindergarten. Knowing ahead of time that the rules of gravity involve sitting in your seat and raising your hand or that time-out may be employed for misconduct on the playground, help astronauts-in-training understand what to expect in school. In a place where everything is new, readers will enjoy exploring each page.

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