Sunday, March 20, 2011

Our childhood stories

The majority of the 35 graduate students who were asked to write about a children's book--a book which might hold lessons for their professional life--chose to write about their favorite book from childhood.  I'm not sure why that surprised me, but it did.  And I was equally surprised by how many of their selections are on my own list of favorite books:
  • Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  • If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss
  • Curious George by Margret and H.A. Rey
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • You're You, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Shultz 
  • The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter
  • The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • The Missing Piece and the Big O by Shel Silverstain
What touched me were the personal stories woven into the beloved books from childhood.  Books read by mom or dad...the first book they remember reading alone...the book that helped make sense of the world.  One student told me about going home over the previous weekend and asking her mother about Plateo.  Mom had forgotten about the book and, once reminded, didn't know where it was.  But the student searched, found the book, wrote her assignment, and brought the book to class. 

One doesn't expect a graduate student in accounting to bring a children's book to share with her teacher.  And I didn't expect to see her eyes light up when she talked about Plateo (Guy Gilchrist's Plateo's Big Race: A Tiny Dinos Story About Learning), her memories of the book and the character, the scribbling (her own) she'd found in the book, the message she remembered, or how happy she was to have reclaimed this piece of her childhood.  She brought the book to class so that I could see it, touch it, and read it. She brought a reclaimed piece of herself to class and it was the best moment of my day.

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