An A to Z of Dreaming Differently
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
A is for Attitude.
May you have bucketloads of it, kid.
But for many children, A may well be for Anxiety as they try to navigate a pathway through the expectations they believe others expect them to meet, the acceptable behaviour that is demanded by society, the beliefs and values of their families and community groups, and who they are actually are inside.
Inspired by an incident when her 4-year-old daughter was given a “slightly old-fashioned, moralistic books about a kid who was taught that there are consequences if rules aren’t observed”, and she was angry because her daughter was “was already getting enough messages from the world about following rules” and needed ” a book that did the opposite” , the author believed, “There needed to be a book about writing your own rules. About asking questions and being curious. About trusting your own instincts and relying on your gut to make a decision. About following your own path. About not feeling like you need to shrink yourself or to conform because of what someone else thinks. That it is all right to stand up for what you believe in. That it is good to speak up. That it is okay to be unapologetically YOU.”
Amidst the myriad of picture books encouraging children to be themselves and affirming that who they are as they are is enough that have been published over the last few decades, using the alphabet to organise these affirmations to help the child develop their emotional intelligence and become curious and critical thinkers is rare. Each letter is used to highlight a trait that encourages the child to have the courage to be themselves, follow their dreams, to ask questions, have fun, speak up and reach for the stars.
I is for Imagination
Grow yours big and feed it every day.
V is for Voice.
Find yours. Use it loudly and proudly. Be seen AND heard.
While there are extensive teaching notes and an activity pack to support the use of the book in the classroom, older students could also use the format to develop a new book that inspires other traits that not only enable us to be ourselves but also to be more outwardly-focused. Perhaps C could be for Caring and Compassion or even Consequences; E could be for Empathy; J could be for Joy and Jubilation; L could be for Listen and Learn; R could be for Responsibility; U could be for Understanding and so forth, giving older children the opportunity to consider what these attributes mean and look like and their impact on others, so having found and accepted themselves they can contribute to the greater good rather than stopping at the feel-good.