Saturday is the calm after the week. A time to reflect and celebrate. Thank you, Ruth Ayers, for this place that allows me a space to sit and write.
This week I’m celebrating those who give hope to children. Educators and writers who call on us to never give up and to reach out to those in our lives who need hope.
Hope. That was the message Patricia Polacco gave students this week.
Last March I sat in the third row of Riverside Chapel, surrounded by educators and listened to the magical storyteller Patricia Polacco. As she lifted up her Keeping Quilt, she lifted us up and moved us to tears.
This week I stood in the back of a crowded school auditorium. Again she lifted up her Keeping Quilt and lifted up an auditorium of students with the power of story and hope.
Hands shot up.
“The only difference between you and me is that I’ve been published.”
Then came storytelling.
Stories of family and stories of struggle.
The story of being learning disabled.
The story of being humiliated when she was asked to read in front of the class.
The story of being bullied on the playground.
And stories of hope with a call to never give up and to reach out to those who struggle, to those who need hope. “You know who they are,” she said. “They’re easy to see. They’re the ones sitting alone at lunchtime. It is your job to reach out to them.”
She told the story of the meteor that had fallen in the backyard of her grandparent’s home and then reached into her red bag and pulled out a piece of that meteor. She cupped her hands over it and told of its power to grant wishes. “You all can hold this meteor. Cup your hand over it. Do you feel it heating up?”
Students quietly cupped their hands over the “meteor” in their laps.
“But wait! Your first wish must be for someone other than yourself. Someone who needs this wish.”
Students quietly made that wish.
As students left, magic swirled around us.
“I almost cried,” said K as she exited the auditorium.
“She’s beautiful,” said D.
J came back late to class beaming. “She gave me a hug!”
“How did you get that?!”
“I just asked.”
The next day, it continued.
In class, I proudly showed off her signature.
“She has beautiful writing,” said S.
“Is that worth a lot of money,” R asked.
“It’s priceless,” I said.
In an after school conference, a parent mentioned the story of the meteor. Her daughter had told her all about it.
Stories retold; that’s magic.
Patricia Polacco touched our hearts and left hope. Of being a writer, a reader, and a storyteller.
This week I celebrate Patricia and our school’s dear friend Dayna Wells, who sought out and shared the magic that is Patricia Polacco.