Friday, June 21, 2013

J is for Journey

My daughter 'stepped-up' to Kindergarden today.  There will never be another pre-K year for my children.  It feels like a punch in the gut.  I will miss being privy to the abundant creativity and pure JOY of discovery and learning that happens with 4 and 5 year olds.

My daughter was extremely lucky to have landed a wonderful teacher - perhaps the best at her school - for her pre-K year.  Ms. M embodied the philosophy of inquiry–– she literally turned every experience into a 'teachable moment'.  Ms. M knew how to find what was unique in each child and she went above and beyond in nurturing their strengths.

Ms. M was also able to cull the talents of various parents.  For example, she asked an architect mom to design 'blue prints' with the students, she arranged a marine biologist parent teach the class about sharks, and she had a journalist father make a newspaper with the children.

When she found out about my book, B is for BROOKLYN, Ms. M suggested we collaborate on a pre-K alphabet book.  Since every day she took the kids out of the class (rain or shine!) on neighborhood 'journey's', we decided to call the book, "J is for JOURNEY".  I worked together with the kids to illustrate the "J" cover, all of the letters, and various things they learned about and places they journeyed to.

The final book is a combination of collage, photographs, children's art and typography.  The kids did most of the work, I just put it all together.  It was so much fun–– it made me feel like I was experiencing pre-K all over again!

And perhaps most importantly, it reminded me why I love writing and illustrating children's books.  It's a journey that I am happy to continue throughout my adult life.

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