Yesterday, Kwame Alexander was interviewed on NPR about his reflection on talking about the tragedies of last week, with the police shootings. His comments have stayed with me today, and I'd like to share them with you. Below I've paired Kwame Alexander's words with a beautiful painting that Christian Robinson, an artist whose work I admire deeply, shared this week.
|poem by Kwame Alexander, painting by Christian Robinson|
WHENToday I visited the 9/11 Memorial, a powerful combination of historical site and memorial to honor those who were killed. I was struck by how much the New York community came together during this crisis to help each other. As I think about the tragedies of last week and talking with students, I want to honor the emotions of fear and anger caused by police brutalities. I also want to help our children see a positive way forward, to think about the world they want to help create, and how they want to respond to difficulties.
the world is not so beautiful
the flowers waste water
the women can no longer find their song
the children refuse to play
there are no men to teach to love
the ground inside collapses
the coldest winter screams
the summer burns red
the sea is full of blues
and the sky opens up
At least I’ll have poetry
a gathering of words
a get-together of emotions
a font of ideas
hope with wings
The 9/11 Memorial has an incredible education division. I'd like to share here a poem they present to children who come to visit the museum. It's called The Survivor Tree; it tells the story of a tree at the World Trade Center that was severely injured but was nurtured back to life. It's a beautiful poem, performed by Whoopi Goldberg.
I especially want to thank authors, illustrators, and actors--like Kwame Alexander, Christian Robinson and Whoopi Goldberg. They help bring hope into our lives, help make this world a better place, especially for those of us who work with children. I'd like to end with the same commitment I ended my past post:
There is a storm raging around us. We have to acknowledge this, bear witness AND hold a torch to create change. I am convinced that books help light the way, both in our souls and in our communities. We must take on this work and speak up for change.
©2016 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books