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We Should Be Looking for Rainbows by Lynsey Burkins

“After the storm, the sun comes out, and a rainbow fills the sky!”– Share Your Rainbow: 18 Artists Draw Their Hope for the Future by Various (Author), R. J. Palacio (Introduction)

As we approach this new school with uncertainty and unrest I can’t help but to find ways to center myself with hope. This will be my seventeenth year as an elementary school teacher and I am sure that I am not alone with these feelings of uncertainty and unrest. 

We know the power that books have when sometimes as educators we don’t have all the words, tricks, and magic to make things right. Books can open up conversations, build bridges, unearth hidden stories, and so much more. I found a book recently that I can’t wait to share with my students next week. It is called, Share Your Rainbow: 18 Artists Draw Their Hope for the Future by Various Artists and R.J. Palacio. 

This picture book is a visual gift and treat for the eyes perfectly paired the artist writing their vision of hope. The text is simple and the illustrations are wildly complex with emotions. It was almost like I was walking through a museum of emotions we have all recently shared captured in art that rings so true. You can’t miss that this book is about the emotions and feelings that have resulted from this pandemic. Each artist hopes for connection in some way shape or form like the rest of us.

One of my favorite parts of this book was getting a glimpse into some of my favorite illustrators’ hopes for the future during this time. 

Vashti Harrison hopes for us to be kinder to the Earth, 

Oge Mora hopes for a warm hug, 

Shannon Wright hopes to skate the night away with friends hand-in-hand…

and the list continues with 18 artists we know and love. 

These pages are meant to be studied. I can’t wait to move slowly through these pages and think and talk with my students. I wonder what they might say? The connection they might have or not have. I imagine them making sense of their own experiences while looking at the experience of another. I hope this book brings the kind of conversation that begins to bind our classroom community together. 

Laura Vaccaro Seeger writes, “We will hold hands as we walk and talk and listen and be…together.”

Our classrooms won’t feel like this yet whether you are in-person or virtual. Together will really mean apart. As literacy teachers we have an opportunity and a responsibility to look for all the “rainbows”. Our students are looking to us to fill their worlds with rainbows as they will also do the same for us. I hope this book will hold a special place in my classroom community as I learn all the rainbows my students hold and the ones we will hold together.

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