My Surprise. When I was in graduate school, I had the opportunity to meet a professor whose work I had been reading. I was planning on using a theory that he popularized. So when he visited our campus, one of our professors made sure that I had time to speak with him about his work. At that meeting I expressed to him how much I appreciated his writing. He was noticeably flattered. This response surprised me. He was the professor… the published author… the one whose work I was studying. I was the one who should have been flattered that he would take time to speak with me one on one.
My New Appreciation. Since that time, I have gained an appreciation for his perspective. Writing is challenging work. As an author, I often take months and sometimes years to craft ideas into finished products that I think will be meaningful to readers. And even then, I am not always certain that the finished products have the impact that I desire. So, it is often encouraging to hear from parents and children who have read my books. It is especially encouraging to know that they are walking away from the text with meaningful insight. I recently heard from Dallas (one of our Black Kids Read All-Stars) and her mother Donnella. This was one of those encouraging letters. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
From Donnella and Dallas.
Let me say congratulations on writing this children’s book. Dallas & I read it together, when we first received the book. I would read the words that she didn’t know and then let her read the words that she already knew. Some words I did help her sound out so she could pronounce them correctly.
Dallas enjoyed the book. She did notice the various different chickens that each family member had, and asked why each one had their own different chickens. Also, she asked how many different chickens were there and why? My answer to her was that each family member’s purpose for having their own was different from the rest of the family. The daughter was learning how to raise her set, the brother did it as a hobby, the mother had hers as pets and the father (the farmer) had his laying eggs and another set as meat. She said are these the chickens that we eat? (lol) I said yes. In this book she also learned the types of foods that chickens eat, and the various parts that make up their body, in which I didn’t know some of the names, so it was informative for me too.
So after we read the book, I asked her would she like to go to a farm and see the various types of chickens that a farm may have? She said yes, so I’m hoping to be able to find a farm this summer that allows visitors to come and learn about the habitat of chickens and other farm raised animals. We do go to the Indiana State Fair every year, which they have an animal section for everyone, and chickens are there, but they don’t show you how to raise the chickens.
Now this is off the record, so I asked her how she liked her chicken she said, fried, baked, and barbecue. However, to know my child, she LOVES to eat meat!!! And chicken is one of her favorite meats that she likes to eat. Oh, and don’t forget the hot sauce! So then she says, mommy that meat in the packages that you buy me, it says chicken on it. Did that come from a chicken too? I said yes. You know the deli sliced meat, I always get her either turkey or chicken. She’s a mess.
We enjoyed reading the book together and it was at a level for her understanding. The words in the book were very age appropriate for her by her being in Kindergarten, she recognized a lot of site words that she knows very well.
Thank you for letting us be a part of this and sharing our feedback to you.
Donnella & Dallas
Thanks! Keep the good news coming.
And remember… Have Fun!
Jomo W. Mutegi, Ph.D. is the founder of Black Kids Read, an author of science-related children’s books, and Associate Professor of Science Education at the Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. He is also Principal Investigator of the (ES)2 STEM Learning Lab. To learn more about Black Kids Read, visit www.BlackKidsRead.net. To learn more about Dr. Mutegi’s research, visit www.ES2RP.org.