How children’s books reach us…

Dedicated to the #BlackGenius and #BlackJoy of Author & Illustrator Floyd Cooper on his transition from this life, to the next.

Quote from Floyd Cooper (

Each one teach one only fulfills its calling when we reach those beyond the sphere of us…

Our voice, our fingertips, our gaze…those on the margins, for whatever reason, need tools that will help them save themselves.

African American girl looking at open book (half-length).
Assembled for 1900 Paris Exposition Collection curated by W.E.B. DuBois. Image available online at

When no one is coming for you, do you have what you need to dig out

Of the holes you fell into, or the ones you dug yourself?

Every learning environment has people in it who can hardly see (or hear, or feel) that which stands in front of them simply because the haze caused by harm swirls before them…just ahead of them.

Teaching reading, the ability to decode text, is the seed of fugitive pedagogy: the disruptor of miseducation that is historically significant. Not only does teaching, freeing, liberating people to read give them language to describe what others deem significant but it also gives them visual clues to connect the landmarks in their everyday life to the hidden meanings that symbols suggest.

Like a laboratory, a book, especially a children’s book is multi-sensory and sensational. Not quite synesthetic but maybe…

With all of the edu-talk and jargon living in our conscious about social emotional learning, culturally responsive pedagogies and critical race theory, I know the value of the work…heavy lifting…that children’s books do in every classroom.

Children’s books allow readers to see themselves: we call that representation.

Children’s books provide pathways for instructional/learning choice for a full range of interests, academic levels and content areas: we call that differentiation and modification.

Children’s books have one other very important role in the way that I see it. Children’s books help me protect my younger selves from the hurt that I feel as I heal from harm–violence whether physical, emotional, or curricular–at the hands of those entrusted to care for me.

Children’s books help us go back and make sense of who we were when we were little, when things happened to us that were beyond our control, when the world was new and unfamiliar. The world of children’s books allows us to travel across a line of reality and into a safe space that may not have been real, but felt real and important. There is a responsibility of social emotional learning that children’s books often accept.

To all of the authors who write and the illustrators who draw, thank you for sharing your gifts with us. Rest well.

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