I can get lost in a children’s picture book. I always take time to point out interesting effects the artists may have used when illustrating the story while I read to my students. There can be such power, beauty and often even another story woven into the details of the pictures. This could not be more true of an amazing book that I recently discovered, Red, White and Blue by Debbie Clement.
Debbie's book started as a song she wrote just after the terror attacks of September 11th. Although there are no direct references to those events in the text of the book or words of the song, as an adult you will notice some heartwarming details, such as the pictures Fire House 10, the fire house of the first responders to the Twin Towers. Debbie is not just an amazing singer, songwriter and author, she is one of those people who exudes contagious joy. It's hard to believe this, but she quilted each page while fighting breast cancer twice! Quilted. Each. Page! I can’t even hem my husband’s pants! What a testament to faith and healing. Knowing that about Debbie makes the book even more touching. Take a look at the beauty that is her book:
As a classroom teacher, I am sometimes leery to broach the topic of 9/11. My students were not even born during that time and I’m never sure how much they know. However, it’s nearly impossible to go through that day without hearing a reference to it in the media. This year will be even more significant as we honor the tenth anniversary of those horrific events. Now that I have Debbie’s book, I can honor the memory of those lost and commemorate the day with my second graders with just the right touch of symbolism and patriotism.
Just looking at the book makes my teacher brain go into overdrive! The quilted pages are a perfect springboard to a math lesson on patterning. The representations of iconic American landscapes are perfect for a geography exploration. Of course the writing and art lessons that this book can inspire are limitless!
Now as if that wasn’t enough, the book comes with an audio CD of the song, which became the book! My class partners with a pre-k class and I can already see my little ones being the “big kids” to their 3 and 4 year old buddies as we sing this song and share this book together. The book shows the basic sign language that the students could use while singing and moving to the song. I’m hoping I don’t get teary eyed as I watch these little ones dance and celebrate America with such innocence on this dark day in our history. Perhaps that is was this book will do though - help future generations remember our past but celebrate the present and work together to make a better tomorrow. See, I told you picture books are powerful and inspiring!
Now, I bet you are wanting a copy of this extraordinary book to share with your class. You can certainly head over to visit Debbie at http://www.rainbowswithinreach.blogspot.com and order a copy or you can just leave a comment here with your email address! Debbie has generously agreed to send one copy of her book to a reader of this blog!
Visit Debbie's blog and see for yourself why this book was just awarded the Indie Excellence Award for Children's Book with Audio!
*Update* We have a winner! Kristen left comment #9. Is she the perfect person to win this book or what!? Thank you Kristen for the amazing sacrifice you and your husband are making for all of us.