Today is the big day. Teachers all across the world read aloud the same book on the same day to children. The magnificence of children all over the world hearing the words and seeing the illustrations of the same story – together – is enormous and bonding.
I was ‘there’, today, reading Thank You, Omu, by Oge Mora.
The book is a wonderful story about a neighborhood, and how the smell of a delicious soup can bring people together. Typically when I read a story, there are a few ‘antsy’ or chatty children. Not with this book. Every child was riveted.
The text brings in one person after another in the neighborhood, in a pattern of anticipation, combined with the familiar love of food. The story builds with Omu (pronounced ah-mu) sharing her soup with each person in the neighborhood until her pot is empty. Her neighbors, in turn, return the favor in a delightful way.
The illustrations are outstanding and appealing. Being a Caldecott Honor Book says it all. Children were drawn to the illustrations of the scent of the soup, and to the neighborhood.
Within our school, we celebrated how we are a community, a neighborhood, by making a big soup together, the same soup that Omu made. Children added ingredients into a big crock pot, and we smelled the same delicious smell that was in the book. Then, after reading the story, we ate the soup and came together, like the same neighborhood in the book.
Thank you to Jump Start’s Read for the Record for creating this annual world-wide event. Schools, libraries, museums, and other organizations are raising awareness about the importance of early literacy. Read more about Read for the Record, Jumpstart, and fostering early literacy at http://www.jstart.org/read-for-the-record/