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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