Literature to Change the World

Many thanks to Mitali Perkins for her recent post entitled “How Kids Can Change the World.” It was a short post, but it touched many lives. Personally, I discovered a wonderful website about books for young readers (now defunct), read some powerful essays by Mitali and Hazel Rochman, and found a list of wonderful new books to read.

This Thursday, I was Mystery Reader in my daughter’s second-grade classroom. Thanks to Mitali’s essay, I read Amadi’s Snowman, Amelia’s Road, and Beatrice’s Goat to the class. The kids, from fairly homogenous, well-to-do backgrounds and used to complaining about homework, were spellbound. I think they definitely “got” it, and I believe they will be thinking about and affected by those stories for a long time.

I also recently read Eve Bunting’s Fly Away Home and Katie Smith Milway’s One Hen to my own children. My son, the sensitive one, thinks we should let people who don’t have homes live in airports (and really, why not?). My daughter, the entrepreneur, wants a hen (just one, Mom!) to keep in the backyard.

I love how literature can open our eyes and minds to worlds so very different from our own and spark ideas and dreams we never knew were there. What are your favorites?

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