I. Poetry of Courage: Amanda Gorman
II. Courage & Clay: Opal Beginning School
III. Recommended Reads: Book on Bravery 

Spotlight on Amanda Gorman

“If we merge mercy with MIGHT, & might with RIGHT, then love becomes our legacy & change our children's birthright...There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” —Amanda Gorman

22-year-old Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, became the youngest person to read at a presidential inauguration. Her poem, The Hill We Climb, serves as an impassioned call for unity and hope. Through soaring original words spoken with conviction, Gorman asked the nation to summon courage.

As we shine a light on fortitude, and collectively climb whatever hilly terrain may lie head, we celebrate her vision of unity—and recognize the role of courage in surmounting crisis. 

Gorman is also the author of the upcoming children's book Change Sings: A Children's Anthem. The lyrical picture book, available for pre-order, reminds young readers that "they have the power to shape the world."

I can hear change humming
In its loudest, proudest song.
I don't fear change coming,
And so I sing along

a story from Opal Beginning School

A tuition-supported, early childhood learning community for 3-5 year olds, Opal Beginning School is enrolling for the 2021-22 school year! Applications available. RSVP  for the final free Virtual Information Session on March 6.

From the start, the teachers have hoped the children would see themselves as resources to each other. I Can Help by David Hyde Costello offered all of us playful ways to connect to this idea, while becoming a consistent point of reference for our whole community.

A couple of days after reading the story, three friends were playing with clay. D. noticed that A. and E. were making “snakes” and asked a teacher how to make one. The teacher saw an opportunity and responded with, “I wonder if one of your friends has a suggestion for you?” Without hesitation, A. responded in her gentle and reassuring way with, “I can help.

How might the process of creating, imagining and inventing support the children’s sense of purpose and belonging in a community?

For many young children, preschool is their first experience with a community beyond their family. Playing with materials (and each other!) offers lots of opportunities for the children to make sense of the idea of community.

In this moment, playing with clay served as a catalyst for constructing what friendship means. A. saw a need (D. is eager to know how to make snakes) and filled it (she values him and paused what she was doing to show him, step-by-step, how to make snakes).

In this complex world, we need people like these children who have the courage to listen with empathy and understanding, imagine multiple possibilities, communicate their ideas in a variety of ways, and see challenges as opportunities for learning.

How might this interaction at the clay table contribute to these young citizens’ understanding of their place in society?

"I got some clay. I rolled it up a bit."

"Then I squeezed it & made it easier to roll.
Then I rolled it into a snake."

"I rolled it forward & backward. You make your hands get bigger & bigger. When you get to the end, you stop rolling it & you go back to the center & do it again."

"Then I gave it to D. I was doing friendship! Like when you do something for somebody. Like when you get them some clay, or make something for them that they don’t know how to make."

"I showed D. how to make a snake.
Now he knows how to do that thing!"

Enjoy these pages with ALL AGES!
This collection of courageous tales features plucky protagonists in pursuit of dreams, main characters with moxie, and friends who face their fears.

Bold & Brave
Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote

by Kirsten Gillibrand
Ten suffragists spanning eras, socioeconomic backgrounds, and professions, who fought to gain the right to vote in the U.S., including Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman & Inez Milholland.

by Bernard Waber
The various ways in which kids, the occasional grown-up, & one endearing canine display bravery.

Drum Dream Girl
How One Girl's Courage Changed Music
by Margarita Engle

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
by Chieri Uegaki 
A celebration of music and performing arts, multicultural studies, and the importance of intergenerational relationships. Explore courage and perseverance while yearning to master something difficult.

"You build your COURAGE MUSCLE daily, by being courageous in little things. Just do right." —Maya Angelou

Jabari Jumps
by Gaia Cornwall
A sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears featuring an encouraging father & a determined little boy.

Mae Among the Stars
by Roda Ahmed
A picture book inspired by the life of the first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Jemison, and the courage she displays in following her dreams.

Ruby Bridges Goes to School
by Ruby Bridges
My True Story: Ruby Bridges tells the story of how she helped end racial segregation in the New Orleans public school system.

Superheroes are Everywhere
by Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris delivers an empowering message: Superheroes are all around us. You can be brave too, in your own way. 

Tomorrow I'll Be Brave
by Jessica Hische
A child's bedtime promise to strive the next day to be adventurous, strong, curious & more.