There are two things you need to know about me to understand this post.
The first is what a typical visit to our library looks like. Our library is stellar. And I haven’t used that word since the 90’s so you know I must really mean it. It is super kid-friendly including having a play kitchen, doll house and barn, puppet theater, etc… With all these interesting toys and activities, what is Little Dude’s favorite thing to do at the library? He runs through the board book section to the back door, pushes the handicapped access button and exits the building.
Despite this bad behavior and the embarrassment it causes me as I go sprinting past the other parents with well-behaved children, we still go at least once a week.
My kids’ modus operandi at the library is “divide and conquer.” If Little Dude wants to play with the kitchen, PJ wants to be across the room at the puzzle desk. If PJ wants to play with the puppets, Little Dude wants to drink from the water fountain. Everything I do at the library is filled with a sense of urgency and the need for another set of eyes or a nanny. So, the way we choose books is: 1) Because one of the kids has pulled the book off a shelf and placed it in the stroller without me noticing, 2) I can see the book has people of color in it so I throw it in the stroller or, 3) It is an author we know we like (I am sure you all know Tafuri and also Henkes – two of our favorites).
I will at some point fill an entire post with bad books I have chosen at the library. Recently, we picked one with a theme about the first days of school integration (remember that I don’t read the title, I just look at the cover art). The book was aimed at toddlers and included the things that people shouted at small children back in the glory days of race relations. Hmmmm…
But sometimes we get really, really lucky. And that leads me to the second thing you might want to know about me… I am not a fan of subtlety.
I know there are learning theories explaining that people retain information and skills better if they actually figure them out themselves. Working for information helps you to better understand and remember it. I, however, come from a public relations background. Speech writing 101 – tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them. Also, I managed a lot of young, emotional staff members for many years. Management 101 – tell them the rules, write down the rules, make them sign a sheet of paper with the rules on it,
fire their asses when they break the rules watch them succeed as they follow the rules. No room for misunderstanding or interpretation.
Knowing these two things about me you can imagine how lucky I feel that I found…
SHADES OF PEOPLE
BY SHELLEY ROTNER and SHEILA M. KELLY
Yes, I am using all caps in an effort to shout at you.
Get this book. Buy this book. Read this book.
As I have mentioned in the past, Little Dude is not into reading, yet. He will rarely sit through a book. He immediately LOVED this book. He picks it out time and time again. He sits through the whole thing. He especially loves the page with photos of kids hugging. It makes him hug himself, or me, or his sister, or his dad. (He tends to punctuate his hugs with a growling noise these days… stellar.)
And the best part is when we get to the last page. We all put our hands on it. You will want to do this with your kids. It will make your heart happy.
In closing I would just like to say, that I told you I was going to tell you about a book (Shades of People). I told you about a book (Shades of People). And you might want to remember, Shades of People.
Staging the photo for a blog post - Little Dude refuses to use his hand. Aren't his toes covered in a grey sock (at the top of the photo) the cutest? I think if we gave PJ much more time we might all be seeing her flip us the bird.
Because I am never satisfied with a picture until either one of my kids or my husband is crying or yelling at me.