Sunday, January 20, 2013



When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics,  will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: 

 Free at last!  Free at Last!  

Thank God, Almighty, we are free at last!

    ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I HAVE A DREAM" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963.  This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the delivery of that powerful, historical speech.

In his picture book I Have a Dream Kadir Nelson, Caldecott Honoree, has illustrated the most iconic words from Dr. King's speech with his beautiful paintings.  Truly the paintings in this picture book beautifully enhance the inspiring words spoken 50 years ago.  Dr. King's speech has been one I have always admired.  It is right to dream for a better world.  It is right to dream for peace.  It is our duty to work for that peace with Dr. King as our model.

Along with Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, I have always been very touched by his last sermon delivered in Mississippi the day before he was assassinatedYou can watch a wonderful tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. highlighting his last sermon "If I Had Sneezed....." HERE.

We thank Mr Nelson for creating paintings to provide the first and only picture book of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s inspiring words for our children.  It is of paramount importance that our children as well as all of us recognize we must keep working for that dream of equality and peace.

In the wake of so many horrific acts of violence, many of which our children see on the news or on the computer, I find myself pushing character education into my classroom more and more.  There is a great need to teach children to be kind to one another and so many children’s books can teach that lesson.  Using Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his famous speech as inspirations we have compiled some activities that can be used to promote peace and kindness (Click on the titles to link to the websites).  


Random Acts of Kindness from The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Planting Seeds of Kindness from Toddler Approved

I Have a Dream Dreamcatchers from Rainbows Within Reach


 Unity Wreath from DLTK Growing Together
  unity dove craft 

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 
"If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" 
But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: 
"If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"

  ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr



Wednesday, January 16, 2013



 "Ferdinand ran to the middle of the ring and everyone shouted and clapped because they thought he was going to fight fiercely and butt and snort and stick his horns around.

But not Ferdinand.  When he got to the middle of the ring he saw the flowers in all the lovely ladies' hair and he just sat down quietly and smelled.

He wouldn't fight and be fierce no matter what they did.  He just sat and smelled."  

Recently on the morning news a human feature piece was highlighted about a group of high school boys who were trying to promote kindness.  The boys started tweeting fellow students and even teachers with compliments and kind words.  It caught on and now other students have started tweeting kind remarks as well.   You can see the news clip HERE. After the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, it is good to hear something so powerful being started in a school by students to encourage kindness, tolerance, and peace.

As we prepare for the celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we thought about two "Just What I Need" Books - The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, drawings by Robert Lawson and I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrated by Kadir Nelson.  Both books wonderfully illustrate the paramount importance of kindness, tolerance, and peace. 

The Story of Ferdinand is one that truly inspires peace and does so in a timeless fashion that demonstrates we should be ourselves regardless of society’s expectations.  This lesson is one that resonates with us throughout our lives, from our time as children trying to find our group friends and into adulthood when we are shaping lives. 
In the spirit of continuing with this theme of accepting ourselves for who we are, we have developed some activities that can be utilized by parents, teachers, and those just looking for a new way to enjoy this wonderful story.

Letter-Perfect Cork Board from Spoonful
Letter-Perfect Corkboard

The Story of Ferdinand takes place in Spain.  We immediately knew we wanted to make a connection to the culture.  And what better way than with food!  Tapas are small meals, similar to appetizers, which have grown to become a unique type of cuisine which can be enjoyed for various celebrations and meals.

Chunky Balsamic Mushrooms from

We hope you will reflect upon Peace in your life
and how you can bring Peace into the lives of others! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

"Just What I Need" Books

I have had a life-long love affair with children's picture books.  There is something so magical in the stories that are told.  The illustrations are magnificent and bring the story to life.  And perhaps, most importantly, for me, children's picture books have always been the "Just What I Need Books".  These are the picture books that happened to come into my life right at the time when I most needed the lessons these books could offer.  It is always surprising to me that I could open a picture book and find exactly the life lesson that would help me on my way!

The Velveteen Rabbit,  

Ferdinand the Bull, 

 Madeline,  and 

Peter's Chair

are just a very few of the children's picture books that have touched me in a special way throughout my life.

In this blog, I will be featuring children's picture books and connecting them to my everyday life and hopefully yours as well!