Wednesday, March 24, 2021

#sol21 March 24 A Different Duckling

I took a deep breath when he pulled the old book from my bookshelf where I had decided it needed to rest. For a few years, I've tried to focus on stories that do not have characters bullying unless I am specifically focusing on the impact of belittling or the power of kindness. Yet, I do I know the power of finding a "new" to you book in a bookcase.

"That's not nice," he cried as I read about the other animals teasing THE ugly duckling (from the classic tale)

"How about we call him different," I offered already sensitive to the words of the classic story.  That's why I had shelved it, I thought to myself, changing the story as I went.  

I was proud that a preschooler was thinking about using kind words; however, I was thinking about whether it is better to share these old classics under the lens of how words can hurt OR is it better to just focus on books that show the kindness we want our students to embrace.  

I'm not sure of the answer, but for now, the book is off the shelf and will be renamed, The Different Duckling.  It will be in the rotation along with a host of books that show the diversity and kindness of  physically, racially, culturally, socially, economically, or politically diverse people. 


Margaret Simon said...

I love how you showed your experience and your thinking around this sensitive subject. I'd never really considered The Ugly Duckling, but I see your point. It needs to stay put away. There are so many great picture books now that are better about the topic of difference.

Glenda Funk said...

Now you have me thinking about the negative examples from classic tales like The Ugly Duckling and what they may unintentionally teach. I love the child’s response and your changing of the title. I also concur w/ Margaret’s response.

Alain Tassé said...

Your Slice today started quite a discussion in my household with two teachers and myself. Thank you for that! Have you heard or read about the controversy at the University of Ottawa some months back in an history of literature class concerning a book using the n..... word?

Denise Krebs said...

Thank you, Anita. How interesting to be confronted with the classic tale again and think of it afresh. It is good to have these conversations with your little one. Well done.

Ramona said...

It's interesting to think about the words used in the stories we read. My grandson recently decided they should stop reading Hank the Cowdog because the character wasn't nice. Hopefully, we can continue to view the words through the lens of compassion and seek for a kinder world.

Lainie Levin said...

There's so much to this story. I love the kindness, the sincerity and the sensitivity you bring to your interactions with kids. And they have such a strong sense of justice, don't they? In many ways, that's why I really like some of those older folk and fairy tales. They're a safe way to explore a lot of big, sometimes scary or dark ideas. Your kids are lucky to have you.