Big Man and I love Reading Rainbow, and it’s a big inspiration for My Sunlit Path. Have you heard about this campaign?
Big Man’s first foray into group sports is has been his playing on the U8 team of our neighborhood Y. Those times when our Big Man would give the ball as a good kick as a size 1 foot could deliver his dad—one of the unofficial sideline coaches—might yell something like, “Go on, Pelé!” to which Big Man would respond with a quizzical look.
How easy it is to forget that our children will likely have a completely different set of pop culture references than we do. Thank goodness for long-memoried storytellers, artists and willing book publishers who help build a bridge over some of that gap. Not to mention the library fairies who seem sometimes to know just the gems to put on display.
One of my most recent discoveries in the kiddie stacks was
Young Pele Soccer’s First Star by husband and wife team Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome. There’s much to love about it starting with the illustrations’ color palette of sun, forest and ocean tones. I appreciated how the Ransome’s addressed the issue of material poverty that for so long cast a shadow on many Brazilian lives, yet how they also still showed the shine and exuberance of the culture. True that the Ransome’s images of Pele’s childhood seem idealized. But it’s a choice that I completely understand and agree with because I think this helps young readers to focus more on internal values and commonalities shared than on material poverty. An unusual treat was that the text challenges readers by introducing Portuguese names and phrases.
When I get excited about a book I want to spread the love and share it. (I can’t help it. It’s what we book nerds do.) So, yes: I took it in to read to Big Man’s class. About half of the children said that it was their favorite Mystery Reader book so far, coming in second only to Milo and the Mysterious Island. Score!
Given that there’s only about a month or so until the 2014 World Cup, how better to close this post than with a video for Brazilian poet and pop star Seu Jorge’s samba written to celebrate the upcoming 2014 World Cup. Glitzy and slick, but my Lord– that voice.
“Black women must remember through the praddle…that her personhood precedes her femalehood. She is a person in the world– with wrongs to right, stupidities to outwit, with her man when possible, on her own when not. And she is also here to enjoy. She will be here, like any other, once only. Therefore, she must, in the midst of tragedy and hatred and neglect, in the midst of her own efforts to purify, magnify and enjoy the readily available: sunshine and pets and children and conversation and games and travel (tiny or large) and books and walks and chocolate cake…”
~Gwendolyn Brooks, Poet/Teacher/Mother, “Collage” from Report from Part One