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.