Texas is Our Continent
“We live in North America.” I said. “No mom, we live in Austin Texas.” Retorted the four-year-old. Thus began our foray into the continent that is our backyard! Coloring, songs, Google map stalking (of our own house), and books – of course books! – allowed us to explore across North America.
Much to our benefit, my mom happened to be visiting us this week. She allowed the kiddos to search for our house via Google maps numerous times, with grandparent-patience. Our books, The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, and Jingle Dancers by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu were requested and read often, also primarily by Nana. Those two books are some of my favorites read so far in the Summer Book Club.
The Other Side is narrated by a little black girl who is told to stay on her side of the fence that segregates her town. She often sees a little white girl sitting on that fence, and soon a barrier-breaking friendship emerges. The text and illustrations are fantastic and the story heart-warming. Although Kenz and Judah are too young to understand all the implications, they understand friendship and the joy of being brought into fellowship from the outside.
The rhythmic nature of Jingle Dancer, both in text and story, fell in line with our music-loving, ever-dancing household. Judah especially enjoyed journeying with Jenna (the protagonist) to find the jingles needed to “give her dress a voice” and counting each row as she acquired them. Vastly different and highly enriching, each book opened a world into parts of North America not usually experienced by our family.
As we do live in North America, interesting facets were brought to life while “traveling about the continent” this week. Just recently we watched and cheered our favorite hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, to a Stanley Cup victory. It came after a season of watching hockey, played in both the USA and Canada, which is why our kids can sing the Canadian National Anthem as well as they sing the Star Spangled Banner, maybe better. In chalk, Kenzie drew an airplane traveling from Mexico to Canada. And, our erstwhile Spanish lessons witnessed a revival as the kids began calling anything white “blanco”.
Being tourists in one’s one home is fun, and we enjoyed the adventures of each day. On to next week in the Middle East!