Celebration in the face of mourning. Love in the face of pain. Connection in the face of fear. This is humanity at its richest. Sharing in that humanity together is the essence of community. The human experience is a story of trauma and tragedy, as well as one of love, connection and hope.
As we face the world with our children, and engage in difficult explanations and conversations, we have the opportunity to introduce stories of joy, healing and restoration. As Fred Rodgers famously said, “Look for the helpers.” And if you look hard enough, there they are. As potential helpers, however, it can be challenging to hold the tension around the impact that just one person can make. On the one hand, we know, that our individual actions matter. And yet, significant change is rarely the result of efforts of just one, or even a few people. Instead, it takes a few people growing into a collective, and joining together in numbers to make the message of that one voice heard.
As we finish out March and head into April, we’re highlighting one story of healing and restoration in Seedfolks. Seedfolks is a “spoken musical”, based on the book by Paul Fleischman, that chronicles a diverse, immigrant community, that comes together thanks to the efforts of “the few” snowballing to “the many.” After a young Vietnamese girl plants beans in a vacant lot to connect with the memory of her father, she unintentionally creates a community garden which begins to bridge divides across her block. Neighbors begin speaking to one another, overcoming their starting biases and ultimately transforming the culture of their entire neighborhood.
Taking the story of Seedfolks one step beyond the page, COCA is bringing it to the stage, this April 13 & 14! Seedfolks showcases the power of one person inspiring many and seeing the fruits of individual efforts combining to push through the stigma and stereotypes that we face day in and day out. And with COCA’s magic touch, this magnificent performance comes to life in the GreenCubator, an actual greenhouse!
#Joinus and see the seeds of community flourish! You and your entire family can join in on the fun and read the book with our entire community. Then, extend your reading by attending an April 13th 1:00pm or 5:00pm COCA performance. As you go along (in either the book or the performance), check out some of the discussion questions below for the whole family. We hope to see you there!
FAMILY DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
What change efforts (past or present) are you part of today/ have you been a part of?
What are the stories of change that you tell in your family? How are the roles of community emphasized?
Sometimes the role of community gets erased or dropped from a story of triumph or change, why is it important to remember how communities shape and power change?
Think together about examples where something happened only because many people worked together.
FOR THE KIDS
books celebrating community
The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin (AOC*)
Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Eric-Shabazz Larkin (IOC)
Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara (AOC, IOC)
Hey Wall - Susan Verde, John Parra (IOC)
The Seeds of Friendship by Michael Foreman
Maybe Something Beautiful by Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, Rafael López (IOC)
I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien (AOC, IOC)
Someone New by Anne Sibley O’Brien
*Author of Color/ Illustrator of Color. Here at We Stories, we are always working to uplift the voices and experiences of characters of colors in the books that we direct families towards. In that amplification, we are continuously mindful of the fact that authors and illustrators of color only make up 15% of published children’s books every year. As always, we strive to flip the script showcasing works that not only feature diverse characters, but also a majority of which are authored or illustrated by people of color.