GNL number 10

The GOOD NEWS LATELY

A report of doings at meeting #10, Sunday, May 4, 2008
including liturgical notes, major themes, and odds and ends

INVOCATION

See the beautiful rainy day
That waters the pretty flowers
And washes away my hopscotch.
—-Allienne Grover, age 7, USA



THEME

  1. Adair, hosting this CHILDREN’S BOOKS DAY, began by showing a book already old when she read it to her own kids years ago, Poems for the Children’s Hour, and then a new printing of the classic story, the Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint Exupery, with lots of activity ideas added. She also gave us a second look at the fascinating Atlas in the Round from last time that prompted us to revisit children’s books today. Later she read from the first book that musical old favorite, Wynken, Blynken and Nod, and then at the end, Diane Ackerman’s moving poem, School Prayer.
  2. Ann chose, instead of a storybook, to read us a very powerful poem that had been written by a teenage girl, and printed in Teaching Tolerance magazine:
    • He prayed—it wasn’t my religion.
      He ate—it wasn’t what I ate.
      He spoke—it wasn’t my language.
      He dressed—it wasn’t what I wore.
      He took my hand—it wasn’t the color of mine.
      But when he laughed—it was how I Iaughed.
      And when he cried—it was how I cried.
      —Amy Madden, 16 years old

  3. Sue read another classic that had been a favorite of her children, Munro Leaf’s Story of Ferdinand, the gentle bull who loved flowers and had to be himself in spite of culture’s expectations. She also brought a whole treasure bag of other books for children of many ages to show us, and these are listed, along with everybody else’s, in page 2’s bibliography.
  4. Cynthia also brought an old book and noted how much it had meant to her as a child who spent a lot of time inside doing quiet things. This was her grandparents’ wonderful old Fables of Aesop (even with all words, no pictures), and she read a familiar favorite from it, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, complete with its moral, “Better baked beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.”
  5. Anna said she didn’t read much as a child, remembering herself as leaving wordy pursuits to her more scholarly older sister and following the more physical and visual arts herself, later becoming a dancer and then a photographer. (And all of us had seen her own fascinating picture book of photos that tell stories.)
  6. Jack told a story about himself as a 6 year old quarantined with scarlet fever at home with his mom, and jumping on the bed in imitation of a musician with monkey he’d seen in a book; and also about later going to a girls’ grade school that accepted a few boys, and how he appreciated the girls! (It started back there, eh, Jack?)
  7. Nancy brought a bunch of short books and read first, Dinner at the Panda Palace, and But Not the Hippopotamus, two funny, rhymey tales of surprising inclusion. Then, the also rhymey and absolutely outside-the-box Mrs. McNosh Hangs up Her Wash. And finally In My World, with its colorful cutout-pages showing natural beauties of our Earthly home.
  8. Gail brought us a bunch too (including the lovely Zen Shorts Sue had also shown), and read a beautiful updated version of Hush Little Baby, with a nature theme, and then the magical Flotsam, a wordless story of what the lost and found undersea camera “saw”.
  9. And what treasures we saw and heard this day. Please check the biblio (below) so you can find these gems at your local library. (And in the course of the day’s book exploration, it should be noted that we not only had great fun appreciating kids’ books and reliving the joy of reading them to kids, but several of us also could not help observing the Leave No Child Behind effect on education today, of pushing kids to read too early, before most are physically or cognitively ready.)



BENEDICTION

PLAYING

When I was playing,
I said to myself
“I’m alone
And no one comes.”
So I go and see
What they are doing.

—-Pauline Costello, age 5, Canada



AFTERWORDS

NEXT TIME: Sunday, June 8, 2008, at 10:30 am, at Ann Adams’, Pavilion Ave., Sharon Springs. We’ll each bring a word/concept that we think needs exploring….reexamining, expanding ? (along with our usual fabulous uncoordinated brunch items)

NEWS NOTE: And before we concluded these festivities, there was nice news announcing the establishment through the kind gesture of Phil Sheehan, of a CoS blogsite, for whatever we want to do with it—like maybe the collected Snews. It’s here: https://churchofskippy.wordpress.com/


AFTER AFTERWORDS

from Adair:

SCHOOL PRAYER

In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,
i swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humble
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.
In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,
I will honor all life
–wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell–on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.

—Diane Ackerman, from I Praise the Destroyer



BIBLIOGRAPHY

from Adair:

  • Poems for the Children’s Hour: Wynken, Blynken and Nod (long out-of-print)
  • The Little Prince Book of Fun and Adventure, by Antoine De St. Exupery (Red Wagon Books, Harcourt, Inc)

from Cynthia:

  • Harvard Classics, Folklore and Fables: Aesop’s The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

from Nancy:

  • Dinner at the Panda Palace, by Stephanie Calmenson, with pictures by Nadine Bernard Westcott
  • But Not the Hippopotamus, words and pictures by Sandra Boynton
  • Mrs McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash, by Sarah Weeks, with pictures by Nadine Bernard Westcott
  • In My World, by Lois Ehlert

from Gail:

  • Hush Little Baby, with new words and pictures by Sylvia Long
  • Flotsam, with pictures (no words) by David Wiesner

from Sue:

Book I read

  • Munro Leaf (Illustrator-Robert Lawson), The Story of Ferdinand

Books I displayed

  • Byrd Baylor, I’m In Charge of Celebrations; The Way To Start A Day; & Everybody Needs a Rock
  • Eve Bunting, Terrible Things—An Allegory of the Holocaust, fable using animals to teach a lesson about the dangers of remaining silent in the face of evil-doing that targets other groups than your own
  • Janice Cohn, D.S.W., The Christmas Menorahs—How a Town Fought Hate
  • Dr. Seuss, The Sneetches and other stories
  • Randall Jarrell, The Bat-Poet (Illustrator-Maurice Sendak)
  • Kenneth Koch & Kate Farrell, Talking to the Sun—An Illustrated Anthology of Poems for Young People (Illustrated with art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art)
  • Sam McBratney, Guess How Much I Love You
  • Robert McCloskey, Lentil
  • Ken Mochizuki (all illustrated by Dom Lee), Baseball Saved Us; Heroes; & Passage to Freedom-The Sugihara Story – All 3 on WWII, about Japanese-Americans & Japanese consul Sugihara who rescued Jews from transport to death camps
  • Patricia Polacco, Pink and Say, a Civil War story of friendship between a black and a white Union Army soldier, based on real people and events–for older children & adults
  • James Rumford, The Cloudmakers (how paper was invented)
  • Jon J Muth, The Three Questions (Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy), Zen Shorts
  • Uri Shulevitz, The Treasure (A Yiddish folktale-I spoke about an Irish variant too)



And a Later, Last AFTERWORD

Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that 2 and 2 makes 4, and Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique…And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must cherish one another. You must work—we must all work—to make this world worthy of its children.
—Pablo Casals, in Joys and Sorrows

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