I’m always watching for mentor texts for our kindergarten persuasive writing unit and when I came across Rise Up and Write It by Nandini Ahuja and Anoosha Syed, I literally squealed. Not only does this book show how children can really impact change in the world, it is written by and about people of color.
Farah is the main character whose innate curiosity leads her into becoming an activist for her neighborhood. From letters to the mayor to petitions, this book is literally filled with a variety of ways kids (and grown ups too!) can make change in their community and beyond.
The launch of this writing unit happened to coincide almost perfectly with the TCRWP Saturday Reunion. Natalie Lewis spoke about identity conferences and the power that these can have in building relationship with our students. The first question Natalie recommends asking is “What problem in the world would you change?”
So today I read Rise Up and Write It and then I posed the question to my kindergarteners…
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you, they had me teary eyed.
I have never doubted the wisdom of 5 year olds. I’ve always known they’re special. But the combination of this book and Natalie’s question unleashed some magic in my room this afternoon. I will let their words speak for themselves.
“Change the monkey bars so everyone can reach.”
“I would change all the swear words to good words.”
“Help people be safer so they can be happier.”
“Listen better when everyone talks.”
“Finding ways to fill people’s hearts up with love and joy.”
“Make it so there’s no robbers in the world.”
“Give all of the homeless people giant houses.”
“Give homeless people food and a house so they can be more helpful and then they can help the next people.”
“Ask people if they need a hug.”
“Make people cards.”
“Make sure everyone can have food in the whole entire world.”
“Get a school for everyone to be able to go.”
Our kids are listening. Our kids are thinking. Our kids want better. Our kids are ready to do better. We just have to listen. We have to believe in them. We have to let them try.