In Progress

Today I went to Scholastic’s book warehouse sale for teachers. It’s the first time I’ve been and I wasn’t disappointed. 50 to 80% off hardcover picture books which will be one of the last kind of books replaced by e-readers or the ipad. I could have spent hours there, but with restraint (and a budget) I managed not to fill the entire cart. Keeping in mind what an 8-year-old might grab if sitting in the classroom library, I tried to focus on books, both fiction and non-fiction, in categories that weren’t as well represented in my classroom collection.

I was amazed at how many books about art there were for kids. There was one that caught my eye: The Art of Freedom: How Artists See America. Unlike many jingoistic books about America for kids these days, I really liked how this author selected how 18 different artists might have viewed this country. Some of the artists include: Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Jasper Johns. And the author’s ideas are simple.

America is immigrants (Cliff Dwellers by George Bellows is the image).

America is an idea (John Trumbell’s The Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776 is displayed).

America is a country (here Jasper Johns’ Map is the image on the page)

From the MOMA's website

This weekend I received some good news. I got my permanent residency status (aka green card) and look forward to naturalizing in 5 years. The last image of this book made me think of all that is great about this country. The author, Bob Raczka writes, “America is a work in progress.” I feel grateful to be part of that work. (The image he selected was Gilbert Stuart’s George Washington from the National Portrait Gallery in D.C.)

As an aside: seeing how hardcover books last almost forever whereas paperbacks (when used by many children) have a much shorter lifespan, I wonder if hardbacks can be seen as part of the capital budget and paperbacks, operational?

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