Each Broadway Books First Class visit is predicated upon the development of a central theme or message. They've included diversity and acceptance, persistence and self-confidence, cooperation and teamwork, and the presentation of role models. All this is wrapped inside a warm hug of respect for the children, for literature, and for the theater.
Broadway actress (singer, comedienne) Joanna Glushak was interested in discussing the concept of "going for your dreams and not letting anyone hamper your ideas or imagination or desires".
We explored several children's books that indirectly touched upon this theme including Big Al by Andrew Clements, Pretzel by H.A. Rey, and Florabelle by Sasha Quinton. All of them are wonderful books but none engendered a passionate reaction of "I must read this!" Then we stumbled across What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom.
This book is visually stunning and in Joanna's hands the message soared and took flight in the children's imaginations.
To build understanding for the abstract notion of an idea, Oni and I prepared our six-year-old students by giving them all wooden eggs - a concrete connection to the visual embodiment of an idea presented in the illustrations.
Each child painted and decorated his or her egg before Joanna's visit. Then, Joanna expertly guided them to the realization that each egg (or idea) was unique unto itself. It was theirs alone to nurture and develop. That's what you do with an idea. You let it follow you and give it thought and time so it can grow. After all, an idea can change the world!
It seemed a beautiful way to light a spark of creativity and ownership within them.
The conversation took a very lively turn when the question and answer period landed on her most recent Broadway success, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. As Joanna entertained with descriptions of the various methods by which each unfortunate D'Ysquith welcomes his or her final breath, the children laughed and applauded. They have a bit of a dark side.
By the time we said goodbye to Joanna - who has 12 Broadway shows to her credit - we all felt like we were hugging a dear friend. It was hard to part and we ended up chatting in the lobby for a bit discussing the children, the vision of the school and my program.
Once again I walked away amazed by the generosity of the incredible performers who say "Yes!" to my invitation to read.
Thank you Joanna!
The magnificent Joanna Glushak inspiring children
to nurture, cherish and grow ideas!
Broadway Books First Class