CHOPSTICKS needs to be experienced. I cannot do it justice in the words I might try to offer here. What Jessica Anthony does with a simple composition...moreCHOPSTICKS needs to be experienced. I cannot do it justice in the words I might try to offer here. What Jessica Anthony does with a simple composition is nothing short of master-class story telling that challenges what we think of when we talk about reading.
We'll be talking about CHOPSTICKS at the end of the year. Mr. Hankins coming out with an early prediction for CHOPSTICKS. (less)
In Brene' Brown's DARING GREATLY, there is a passage regarding a writing exercise that Brown has led with adults. The first invitation is to fill in t...moreIn Brene' Brown's DARING GREATLY, there is a passage regarding a writing exercise that Brown has led with adults. The first invitation is to fill in the blank in the phrase "____________ enough." When the participants struggle with this invitation, the phrase is lengthened to "never ___________ enough." And the ideas flourish.
What does it mean to "be enough?"
This is a title that I wish I had found on my own, but I am ever so happy that it was recommended by a friend in the business at Facebook. I want to find more books like Hannah E. Harrison's just that way. Recommended by a good friend. It makes a book like EXTRAORDINARY JANE feel like a bridge across great distances. A friend who posts, "Hey. . .you have to see this book."
I have shared EXTRAORDINARY JANE with all of my classes reading THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD this spring. Remember Hurston's beautiful passage in or about Chapter 9 or 10 where she talks about God's having created The Man. The glittery being that drew jealousy from the angels because he shone and sang. . .yes. . .that passage. How these glittery pieces with dirt kicked over them still try to find one another via their shared song.
Hannah introduces us to Jane who seems to reside at ringside of a circus wherein her whole family are stars. Dad is mighty and mom is elegant. Brothers launch from cannons and sisters walk the high wire. But Jane seems to fail at every turn in her attempt to assimilate herself into a world wherein everyone else has found a place.
In Room 407, we talked about how ordinary characters like Janie from TEWWG have difficulty finding a toe-hold in a literary world full of people who fight to the death for their district's survival, discover some latent power inside of them that will guide them to and through great journeys, and those who travel to the ends of the universe and back.
As an extension of this wonderful picture book, in our AP sections, we have shown Kekenya's Ntaiya's "The Girl Who Demanded School." This unassuming speaker tells a story that many of us cannot comprehend and ends her story with a hope that comes of staying grounded in what we believe in, what we will stand for. . .what we will not stand for. . .and who we will stand with. . .
Ordinary Janes. . .who are enough. . .to become Extraordinary.
Hannah E. Harrison's earns Mr. Hankins's distinction of a One Book/Four Hands title for what needs to be seen within the illustrations. No spoilers here, but what we see of Jane in the illustrations makes her all the more ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. Our interactions with friends. Our willingness to lend a hand. Our ability to bring a little joy to the life of another in the course of our daily activities and interactions.
It's all so ordinary.
And at the same time what makes us all extraordinary beings.
Hannah E. Harrison is able to bring all of this to the reader with simple text that will help to guide a little prediction and to offer a little surprise at the very end. And the message couldn't be more important for young readers today.
So. . .go find a copy for yourself. And give yourself a little hug.