A few months ago I heard Andrea Davis Pinkney speak at a Social Justice Saturday event hosted by Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. She said that she was wondering what books the future presidents of the United States might be reading now in elementary or middle school, and how those books might influence the kind of presidents (and people) they would become.
What an interesting question to consider. How will the books we are giving children now impact the adults they will become, whether or not they choose to become the POTUS. As a Literacy Coach in an elementary school, I feel that it is my responsibility to help students find THE books that will help them to become the best human beings they can become. I am always on the lookout for the read aloud text that will pull a classroom together during good times and bad, the book that a certain student needs at a certain moment to pull them through a tough situation, or celebrate a special one.
After the horrific events that took place in Florida last month (and in other schools and neighborhoods before that), I wonder if reading certain books might be part of what is needed to protect us from (or even prevent) this kind of senseless violence. If these children had read (or listened to) the right books, would they be turning to violence? Would they feel so alone? Would they be so hopeless and angry? Or would they have learned how to navigate difficulty, have persistence in the face of trouble, have hope even when the world seemed hopeless.
What are the books?
My list includes:
Wish Tree by Katherine Applegate
Love by Matthew de la Pena
Smoky Night by Eve Bunting
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Ish by Peter Reynolds
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
Can you add to my list?
What books do kids need in their hands right now? What books do we hope our future POTUS will have read?