Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finding Their Voice

"Madeline is so bright and does such wonderful work, I'd love her to build her confidence and be able to share her ideas with the class more easily," says M's teacher. Of course, I want her to feel confident enough to stand up and speak her mind—to share her amazing self with the world, but I also know that her personality tends to be more observant, cautious, and quiet in large groups. In small groups and with friends, that isn't the case. I don't consider her occasional reticence to be a problem. I was mid-way through 5th grade before I was brave enough to speak out when in the spotlight (and then my natural bossiness, er... leadership was shared easily), but like M, I never had a problem speaking up when it was necessary or important. I easily defended myself and others, and she does too. Basically, I want her to be able to stand strong in the spotlight, even if she doesn't choose to seek it out, and so... I'm on a quest to find some children's books about kids finding their voice.

Louder Lili by Gennifer Choldenko shows Lili, the quietest girl in the class, being mistaken for absent by her teacher, having louder/bossier kids take credit for her ideas, and being pushed around. All things that do happen to quiet kids. However, it's fun to see her speak her mind when it counts! And, she makes a new (true) friend in the process. It's a great story.

Doo-Wop Pop by Roni Schotter
is a marvelous story about a retired jazz musician, turned school janitor, who literally helps a handful of quiet kids find their voices. His "carrots" as he calls them, finally "jump in the stew" and wow their classmates as a great new a cappella singing group. And, reading this book is a delight as the prose be bops off the page like a song!

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