Rekindling American Pride

The perfect book.  Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus captures the heart of America.  The stunning illustrations by Kadir Nelson make the simple text explode with meaning.  It is history:

White Rows.  White Rows

When I turned to this page, I choked up.  Two words, and two important stories.  How can one not talk about the white rows of covered wagons traveling west?  It is a part of American history.  And, how can one not talk about the white rows on the American flag?  Purity and innocence.  It’s an open door to learn about the flag.  It is the heart of America:

All American.  All American

Baseball, a veteran granddad with his grandson; this is “All American.”  In the words of the illustrator, “It beautifully draws parallels between the American landscape, the diversity of its people, and the symbolism stitched into the fabric.”

Yes, it does!  I like to think that the fabric encompasses far more than the flag; our foundation, our values, our community.  And, our big, wide, wonderful landscape:

Old Glory.  Old Glory.

I hadn’t thought about the Grand Canyon as “Old Glory.”  Nor had I thought about fireworks as “Old Glory.”  As soon as I saw this page, I understood.  Those words are the nickname for the American flag, yet they are so much more.  You see, while the flag is a symbol of our country, so are many other things.  We are a nation of many people.  The author thought of the deep blue sky dotted with white stars that the early immigrants saw coming to America.  That was the inspiration for the book.  We are one nation:

Sew together won nation.  So together one nation.

Powerful words.  Let’s remember what is most important; being one, being together.  That is the greatest strength.

Funny thing~ I teach this to my preschoolers every single day.  We are one, we are a family.  We are all different, yet we come to the table together.  I cannot wait to read this book to my new class of children in September.  Oh, we will stop at least a hundred times to talk.  There is so much to learn.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Diversity, Early Education, geography, history, Inspiration, patriotism, picture books, reading aloud, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Rekindling American Pride

  1. Yes…this is an absolutely wonderful book!

  2. beetleypete says:

    The book looks perfect, Jennie. We don’t celebrate our country in the same way as you do in America. Patriotism is not a feature of education here. There are no pledges or flags, but I believe that children have a sense of place, though that place is often a city, county, or a country like Scotland, rather than an overview of Britain.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. There are so many similarities between Australian and American culture and landscapes, Jennie. Our Australian outback with wide blue sky is so similar to the Arizona desert country. I love the way this book promotes that we are all one people. We may look different but we are one, we are a family.
    Best wishes. Glenice

  4. GP Cox says:

    A wonderful attitude I wish adults would learn and re-learn.

    • Jennie says:

      I do, too. I enjoyed watching adults as they read this book. They were taken aback. It played a part in learning and relearning. Best to you, GP.

  5. This sounds like an absolutely splendid publication. While Pete is right to say we don’t celebrate in the same way over here, such a book about diversity and togetherness should be read by all children and adults everywhere.

  6. Dan Antion says:

    It sounds like a wonderful book, and I’m imagining all those stops and the lessons you will be sharing with those lucky children. Hopefully, you will help build a foundation of tolerance and establish/enforce the notion that we are better for our differences – they make us stronger.

    • Jennie says:

      I certainly will, Dan. Young children aren’t encumbered with prejudgements. They will love this book. So will the staff and fellow teachers when I read it aloud next week. I’ll write home to families, too. Check it out at the library if you can. Thank you, and happy weekend! 🙂

  7. Love this ‘side by side’ approach to telling a story…very ‘deep’.
    Have a great weekend!

  8. This sounds like a wonderful way of teaching children about their country and heritage, Jennie.

  9. I can feel your enthusiasm, Jennie. My favorite page is the one with all the different faces. Diversity is beautiful. Who wants a garden planted with only one kind of flower?

  10. balroop2013 says:

    Thanks for talking about this wonderful book, loved the way you have presented it, with pictures and the words dripping with warmth. 🙂

  11. reocochran says:

    Oh, my goodness! One every family should have to share with their pre-readers! It encompasses so much and thank you for sharing this. We are one nation. . .
    *”So together
    One nation”
    I like how you also shared the way the pages are tied with one theme between every two pages, Jennie. We are better due to our parts. The last photograph touched me and I nearly burst into tears.

    • Jennie says:

      You should have seen me reading this in the book store. Talk about choking up! I hope your library has it so you can read it to your grandies. There are so many more pages, equally spectacular. Thank you, Robin!

  12. srbottch says:

    I love our flag and this great nation. It’s in serious turmoil now. I think there are forces at work trying to undermine our values, folk who, for one reason or another, want to see our great democratic experiment fail. The sooner they understand the lesson of this book, the better. We are one nation of many faces. Keep up the good work, Jennie.

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  14. I don’t doubt that this book should be in every library, but also in every school. I think I will donate it to some preschools and kindergartens. I am off to take a look at it now.
    Thank you, Jennie, as usual, an excellent post from an excellent teacher.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Patricia. I only showed a snippet of the book. I plan to take it to my library today. I will be reading in aloud this week to all the teachers and staff at school, then to the children the following week. Happy reading!

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  16. What a beautiful book. I’m sure your students will love it very much.

  17. dgkaye says:

    Such a beautiful post Jennie. I’m so happy to hear there are teachers like you who teach the young ones good values from their wee impressionable ages. 🙂

  18. Thanks for sharing this beautiful book, it looks wonderful!

    • Jennie says:

      It is fantastic. I only posted a few of the pages in the book. AND, I didn’t realize that he is also the author of “If You Plant a Seed.” I love that book! Thank you, Marcia.

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