The vision in my mind of Joshua Castille is as an intrepid storyteller defiantly braving the elements to shower children with words and deliver the message that books have power. Power to heal and sooth, to make us laugh, give us hope, encourage us to dream and carry us away into faraway lands.
His Broadway Books First Class visit had some hiccups (scheduling, children getting sick before and during his reading, classroom interruptions and other snafus) yet Josh soldiered on, seemingly undeterred.
His visit was unique because it was conducted exclusively in American Sign Language. This added an element of ease because the children were able to converse with him in their first language. It focused their attention - allowing all the distractions swirling around them to fade into the background.
As always, we began with introductions before diving into what is arguably one of the most beautifully written and illustrated children's books around.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce is also an Academy Award winning short film.
I really wanted Josh to read this book and he did not disappoint. Combining humor and pathos he conveyed the subtleties of the material to the children so they understood Morris' journey through life with his cherished books. The result was very touching and we were all moved by his exquisite reading.
Questions followed the reading and Josh shared his story with us - from Louisiana farm boy to proudly treading the boards on Broadway.
That evening a parent texted me to tell me her daughter was so excited about Josh's visit. She told her all about the book, his growing up on a farm and his hearing aids. It meant a lot to this child to see a successful performer who is deaf just like her and suddenly Josh added another credit to his name...role model!
A huge THANK YOU to Josh for sharing this time with us. It was "unbelievably beautiful".
Storyteller Joshua Castille steps into first grade
Broadway Books First Class