“When I declined to give up my seat, it was not that day, or bus, in particular. I just wanted to be free like everybody else. I did not want to be continually humiliated over something I had no control over: the color of my skin.” - Rosa Parks
As we all know, this quiet refusal by Rosa Parks soon sparked the monumental Montgomery Bus Boycott, an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement - a human rights campaign just as relevant today, as it was in the 1950's & 60's.
Rosa Parks epitomizes character & strength; she embodied great resolve & strength; traits clearly defining her human rights hero status. And while many know her simply for her refusal to give up her bus seat - she actually had long been involved with civil rights work, dedicating herself to the pursuit of equality: a basic human right.
While many of our students are familiar with history's legends such as Rosa Parks, this week as we celebrate the birthday of this magnificent woman, we will be using this role model to reflect on the larger picture of what it means to be a human rights hero on any level - large or small.
Today, we still live in a world steeped in injustice. Part of the responsibility of educators is to equip our students with the values of good character & the tools with which to carry these out.
During International Kindness Week, Reed focused particularly on helping students identify opportunity & reach within for the necessary resilience it sometimes takes to become an upstander: to advocate for those around us; to show kindness; to show compassion, empathy, tolerance, respect. To be an upstander, is to be a human rights hero, no matter how small the moment may seem.
It couldn't be more fitting for our library week to therefore take Rosa Parks & her act of courage - her own act as an upstander, as an entry point to reflect upon how we ourselves, can be upstanders every day; how we can work to be Human Rights Heroes every day within our own community.
Take a moment this week,to talk with your children about how they may have shown kindness at school or at home, in sport or in play. Ask them if they found an opportunity to be an upstander, to be a friend, to be a hero to someone.
When I had my boys (now 9 & 7), reading, of course became an immediate habit.
Even at a few months old (despite the fact that most likely they were asleep & I can't even remember), I read to them regularly.
Being from New Zealand, I had a plethora of children's books I took for granted. Stories I grew up with, stories my kids were growing up with that were just part of what we read every day.
Moving to Spain with a toddler & then to America a few years after that, I quickly came to cherish these native books - tales that once were familiar to all, I now found no one had heard of!
Of course over time, we broadened our horizons.... Soon, we were avid fans of The Gruffalo, Aliens Stole My Underpants, The Hungry Caterpillar & countless others. However, myself & my boys still treasure these New Zealand parts of our family traditions & for some books, they can still even chant the key phrases & lines.
One such book, we can seldom go past is Lynley Dodd's Hairy MacLary from Donaldson's Dairy.
This book became so iconic in New Zealand, I doubt you'd find an inhabitant who doesn't know the familiar ring of at least one of it's classic pages.
Whether they know of "Bottomly Potts, covered in spots"; "Schnitzel Von Krum with the very low tum" or "Scarface Claw, the toughest Tom in town".... these words create a familiar sense of home every time we turn a page.
My absolute love of the language, the characters, the beautifully simple yet fully expressive illustrations - is something I will never move past.
Don't we all have those books that will always be a part of our hearts?
This of course, is what motivated me to share Hairy MacLary with our students here at Reed. This story reflects a part of who I am; it encompasses so many elements making it almost impossible not immediately fall in love.
For these reasons, this is a the book I chose to introduce myself with to each class - to share a piece of myself & to also learn more of my students as we share our own stories or pets, favorite animals or outdoor adventures!
Welcome to the on-line home of Reed Library! I'm so pleased you came to visit & hope you keep coming back to read my blog on our latest happenings, new books & our exciting digital citizenship program!