When we moved to Washington DC in 2004, one of the first things I did was find where our local library was. It happened to be a short walk from our condo on Connecticut, and between unpacking and figuring out where to apply for a teaching job, I spent my time walking to the Tenleytown-Friendship Library, or Politics and Prose.
The first book I checked out from this library was Heartbeat by Sharon Creech. I sat in the Starbucks across the street and wrote down notes as I read. I wrote down quotes I liked as well as a few sketches for ideas of writing one of those "weblogs" I'd heard about at the Festival of Faith and Writing.
I wasn't able to visit the library for too much longer because it closed, but it re-opened this Saturday and it seemed important to take the H's to one of the first places I went to when we moved.
The story is hysterical by itself, but to hear it sung adds so much, and it was a reminder of the importance of reading stories in different voices, or singing, or even using puppets and props. The children get into the story which is a benefit, but I think they understand the story more as well.
Hadley knew that we might hear the story Dotty, but here's her expression when I told her we might get to hear Chicken Butt:
Jesse was taking pictures on Saturday, and didn't get a shot of the chicken butt hat, however, he did get this one:
Oh, but the possibilities in a library!
And to hear Erica Perl read from her stories, and share that with my girls is a big deal to me, too. Hers was one of the first classes I took at The Writer's Center in Bethesda. I was in my first trimester with Harper, and for awhile we were pretty sure I was miscarrying. I was scared, and sick, and exhausted, but I wrote a little story about a girl who loved maps and I got to share it with the class. That was scary and exhilirating, but having a chance to write and share, and talk about words took my mind off of being pregnant for awhile. C.S. Lewis wrote, "....and whenever you are fed up with life, start writing: ink is the great cure for all human ills, as I have found out long ago." I am thankful that I had a chance to learn from a real author who creates characters like Dotty, and Bernice the Hippo, and a stockboy with the nickname "The Nail".
Plus, we've added to our growing list of butt jokes.
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