I miss the days of browsing the library, reading new books displayed on top of the shelves. And the days of sitting on the floor of the bookstore, finding treasures for my collections. Not that sitting on the floor is the intention, but some books justify reading them immediately. Walking to the tiny chairs in the children’s section, just isn’t fast enough.
Bea Birdsong’s I Will Be Fierce is one of those books. It is clever, empowering, and is the perfect book to help quiet students find their voice.
The book jacket describes the story as girl on an “epic fairytale quest.” School is that quest and the bravery this book inspires is an important tool for academic success.
In this picture book, the intimidating parts of a school day are depicted as challenges found in a traditional storybook quest. For example, the “many headed serpent” is large, yellow, noisy, and strikes fear in countless modern-day children.
Those children often enter endurance mode when faced with things outside of their comfort zone – for example, riding the school bus or entering the cafeteria. With this book as a tool, I believe children will be better fortified to overcome their fears and see school as an uplifting challenge rather than a chore.
This book is designed for children ages three to six, but as a grown up, it helps me want to embrace the challenges of this school year. It makes me hope that I can share this book with students even if school isn’t at school in August. Book delivery with front yard story time would be fun. Or, pop up story times from the top of a playground structure at the park. Or reading aloud with students sitting at the socially distant red tables under the beautiful tree outside our library. Books like I Will Be Fierce are amazing enough to even make me anticipate live streaming story time. The protagonist and I have shyness in common. I too need boosts like I Will Be Fierce to help me accomplish my goals.
Another book to help us find our voice is Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds. Not only does he advocate for children to use their voices, he shows ways for children to express themselves through action. Service and creativity are encouraged as many different talents are showcased. Reynolds’ illustrations represent children of all shapes, sizes, cultures, and abilities. Watching children discover characters who look like them (and words written in other languages they recognize) adds to the fun of reading it to a group. If you do not yet own this book or if you simply want to enjoy the author reading Say Something out loud, it can easily be viewed through Reynold’s You Tube clip supporting the #ReadTogether movement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4waMR24zsI
With as difficult as it has been to stay home from the library, the pandemic has opened access to many other avenues to literature and listening to stories. Seeing authors present their own masterpieces has been a fun distraction during these stay at home days!
And if you need help finding access to books, feel free to leave me a message or call your local public library. Many have librarians available by phone to assist patrons even when their libraries remain closed.