Saturday, October 4, 2008

Their Job is to Read, Our Job is to Feed Them

I am looking for good digital photos of children reading, to use in a literacy campaign that benefits a food pantry here in Bloomington. I've put out the call to a few friends, and Sheff, of Seven Sidekicks, immediately answered. YAY! Sheff is the Dadiator, a young green builder who became the father of 7 kids within 7 years, through adoption and the production of bio-babies. There they are in a school line-up, checking their backpacks. Got books?

If you haven't clicked over to Seven Sidekicks, do it today – it's a great day brightener. You'll find mom Deirdre's 'Boredom Buster' tips, including the brilliant idea to give any youngster who complains of boredom the mini-vac and permission to vacuum the stairs. (This doesn't work with teenagers, alas.)

On the left is a YAY gift that entered our home thanks to my niece Jade. It is one of my favorite handcrafted objects, and certainly one of the best gifts a person could ask for. Jade is an artist, and like her big sister Jasmine, she is a great reader. They are both writers, too – stories and poems and art projects just pour out of them. How do they do it? Partly because from the beginning, before they could talk, their mom (especially) has been reading to them every day. (Now, of course, they often read to her.)

Our campaign is called HEALTHY MINDS HEALTHY BODIES. It's Read-a-Thon with the Cardinal Stage Company, in support of Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, a food pantry that also gives workshops on nutrition and organizes urban community gardens. Those nutrition classes, by the way, aren't the boring kind loaded with dubious advice from the same nutrition specialists who recommend highly processed foods. They are the 'garden variety' kind – the kind where you might learn how to bake a potato or ferment a beet, where you learn how to eat and enjoy real food.

Real food and lots of books – and the joys of parenting, even in hard times. That's what we are getting at here. If you feel like sending me photos, I will respond with a YAY!


Nor said...

Ferment a beet ??!! Love it. I just pulled out Kees't Hart's book Kinderen die leren lezen (children learning to read)but of course it is in Dutch. the cover of the Querido poetry edition is after your own heart. Hmm, i should be able to scan it but my scanner is ancient. There are rows of drawings of small items: a briefcase, wooden shoes, a hair brush, laundry basket, and, yes, food: apples, a lemon, mayonnaise.

elena said...

Oh, I wish I could see that book! I just searched for images on the web, to no avail, alas.
It's clear that we need a translator of Kees' work here in the US. Three cheers to the Rain Taxi Brainstorm Series for beginning the effort with the chapbook 'The Road to Camden', a poem about Kees' journey to Walt Whitman's house.
Kees was the Dutch translator of Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass' - a great project for a writer who also is a novelist, poet, journalist, and who wrote a popular account of traveling with the Netherlands soccer team!

Sheff said...

This is such a beautiful site, I wish elena was closer to do art projects with the kids with natural materials. I told the kids we could make natural egg dyes this Easter (I did this with my mum one year) and they were THRILLED. Beet makes the best red, cabbage purple, and I am going to look into more colors, they should make for wonderful photos. Let me know when it gets closer to the Holidays about some natural Christmas homemade gifts.Deirdre

elena said...

That sounds great, Deirdre! Thanks for being such a creative mom..and for sending along all the reading photos.Hugs to all 7!