The other day, I woke up on the wrong planet. That’s the opening line of the picture book I read to the kids in my one-room library yesterday.
I was standing outside talking to one of my trustees when the kids walked over after lunch, kindergarteners through sixth graders. What a crew, he said, the kids cheerful, some of them in unzipped winter coats, others in t-shirts.
The kids spread out on my well-worn carpet. What if you did? I asked. Imagine if one day, you opened your eyes…..
The littlest kids’ faces glowed, and I wondered at the mysterious thoughts meandering through their minds, as they considered imaginary realms. Afterwards, the oldest kids lingered, checking out books, with their own system of swapping library books, sharing their imaginary worlds.
Afterwards, alone in the library for a few moments, I began pulling together a program in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. What if, I kept thinking… And isn’t this one of the drives of literature? To sway our story through imagination and action?
We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.