A surprise and a gentle challenge, but first, the backstory!
I found this little book when I was an elementary reading teacher. My classes always had blocks of time during the day when we could read loud with each other, choose a silent reading book or take the time to write in our writing and reading journals. I ‘pitched’ this book during one of many book talks with my class. We ended up using it as a class read aloud, talking about it as the story progressed.
The character segments are short – some a bit longer than others. The people involved in the story of this neighborhood are a diverse and interesting lot. The ideas explored and the actions of the characters mirror cultural differences. The kids seemed to really like the story… and the outcome! In fact, it lead to a class ‘international fair’.
So – a challenge and an idea. How about you and your family read this book aloud with each other and mirror that classroom. I guarantee that the story will open up things to talk about, ideas for neighborhood communication, thoughts on ways to build ‘community’ even in our small town experience, and will give an overall good feeling by the end of the book.
Some ideas – adopt a character to read their segment to your family around the dinner table or during family read-aloud time, explore the cultures of the characters and have an international feast, do a little internet dive into the countries that the people came from when they emigrated to America, talk about community garden projects, talk about ideas for your family gardens, (if you have one). Have fun and get creative with some arts and crafts stuff! Make some soup together! If there’s interest, we could all meet during one of the post Sunday service fellowship ZOOMs to yack up what happened in your households around the book that your family read.
We will be suggesting two books. One is for more mature Sunday schoolers – Seedfolks, and one is for the littler ones – Everybody Serves Soup – both about diverse neighborhoods, both about community helping community, both about friendship and support and building something together.
So, enjoy a really nice story – my gift to your family during this Lenten season! And do me a favor! When you’ve finished up doing whatever you choose to do with the book, pass it on to someone you think would enjoy it and get something out of the story.
Peace and Hope!
PUMC Lay Leader and all-around book nerd