Our nightly bedtime reading routine has never been about raising a young genius or trying to build reading skills at an early age.Truly, it is a parent, survival skill. Sweet dreams hasn’t come easy in this household and there have been many a sleepless night followed by a Redbull morning. For toddler ,sleep training, some experts suggest the “cry it out” method. Ummmm.. yea.. to each their own. To be quite honest, I am weak about my baby and the thought of allowing my sweet darling to cry for more than 10 minutes is agony. Consequently, a warm bath, cup of milk ,and a good book is easier to embrace as our bedtime routine. I obsess over this routine. I neeeed my 7.25 hours of sleep. I will read whatever I need to to make sure his eyes are closed by 8:30 PM, no exceptions. These days, JohnJohn has a favorite- Blue Sky White Stars by Sarivinder Naberhuaus, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. The major theme of the story is patriotism. Other than the typical sparkler on the Fourth of July, we are not the prototypical American Pie type of family. I am kind of surprised that he is into it. Honestly, as a mother of color, being patriotic is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of diversity. Regardless, momma has do what momma has to do. If reading this book is what’s going to journey my son to the world of zzZZZ’s ,then I am all here for it.
The book illustrates, through images and profound words ,where in America you can kind find the colors of the flag. Blue can be found in the sky, red in the trees during the fall; white in the clouds that span across this nation. The glory of this great land is reflected in the Grand Canyon, Lady Liberty, and our land’s beautiful city scapes. In addition, there are beautiful images of people of all ages and hues standing together for things like civil rights , baseball games,and the American Civil War to name a few.
The illustrations reveal the message that diversity is ,without question, patriotic. Lady Liberty, the red trees, the capturing images of the Grand Canyon are gorgeous and reveal the diversity of the American landscape. In the same way, Americans of all different skin hues and ethnicities are gorgeous and diverse. There is a profound picture of Civil Rights marchers; hands woven together like the thread of our flag. I love how Betsy Ross stitches the parts of the flag and how this image juxtaposes itself perfectly next to a sea of beautiful Black, Brown, White , and Red faces. Patriotism makes sense to my young son because this book shows that it includes him. I also love how this book shows that there is such thing as African American soldiers and African American veterans. We do not see it alot, but I love how the author implies that Black and Brown soldiers are just as American as a baseball game and a box of Cracker Jacks. Forgive me for being cliche, but I am proud to be an American. And I am proud to show my son that this is what America looks like. I now understand why this is his book for the season. He loves the images of the flag, people, eagles, rockets, and soldiers from cover to cover.
Living Beyond the Story
- Use this book to talk about the colors of the flag. Have your young one find the colors of the flag in the world around them.
2. Use the book as a tool to teach about the topic of Civil Rights marchers. Hold hands, walk together. Pretend to have a civil rights march with your little one. Talk about what it means to march together.
4. Have your young one learn about a new culture or custom that makes up America.
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