Friday, March 3, 2017

Anti-Poverty Mom Reads "Whoever You Are"

This is what the book would look like if you were
little and sitting on my lap.
The book "Whoever You Are" by Mem Fox has been on my mind lately and I want everyone to know about it. I don't have any pre-schoolers anymore, but this was always my Go-To book when I was asked to talk to tiny children about global poverty. It paints a universal picture of childhood while acknowledging the differences in the lives we live all over the world.

I believe that before we can tell them about how they are different from kids who don't have the basic resources they need to grow and thrive, we should tell them how we are the same. That is the way we will build empathy and caring in our youngest readers.

Mem Fox knows this well. She is a 70-year-old Australian writer of children's books and the author of some of our favorites in this house. "Time for Bed" was a staple for us. It was THE book that could get my babies to sleep on planes! A particularly popular one of hers (and one of Austrailia's official gifts to Prince George) is "Ten Little Fingers, Ten Little Toes." She is a literacy specialist and has said about literacy: "Literacy has become the great focus of my life - it's my passion, my battle and my mission and my exhaustion." 

Fox was in the news recently because of an unfortunate recent incident in the in immigration line at the Los Angeles airport. She was detained and interrogated along with several other women. They shared the same room and were shouted at in a de-humanizing fashion for over an hour. The irony of the author of "Whoever You Are" having to endure this is almost too much for me to bear.

With all of this on my mind, I decided to record the first of what might become a series of readings. I want to spread the word about great books we can read to small ones to build big hearts. I want to model how parents should read to children: slowly, with loving expressions, showing the pictures, asking questions, with eye contact, with emotion and humor, etc.  Maybe I just miss reading to kids now? Or maybe I'm leaving a record of a memory for my own kids for when I'm not with them or they feel little enough for a story, but too big to ask for one.

So, here I am reading "Whoever You Are" by Mem Fox...


Unknown said...

Ok, I want to show this to Melania Trump.

Anonymous said...

My little one watched too and says "That was pretty cool, Mommy!" More books, please, Cindy! :)