To the Editor:
I am writing to show my gratitude and support for the Litchfield Public School and Region 6 joint book committee. The book “Flying Lessons” is a beautiful book that honors diverse voices. The committee informed parents that this book was written and intended for grades 5-12. Children in the lower grades were provided a copy of this book so that it would be available for them when they were a bit older. Diverse picture books were recommended for these students and videos of the read-alouds were distributed to the families. The committee also informed parents that they should preview the book before they shared it with their children due to mature topics in the book.
Litchfield, Morris, Warren and Goshen are very homogeneous communities. I am a white, cisgender, straight, able-bodied, Christian woman so of course I feel very welcomed and accepted in this community. I imagine there are many members of our community that don’t feel as welcome or accepted. Every student in our schools and every person in our community deserves to feel accepted, welcomed and respected for being exactly who they are.
Ezra Hyland recently said, “Humans don’t make our stories, it’s stories that make us human (paraphrasing Amiri Baraka). It’s not until we know the stories of each other that we embrace our humanity. When I know the stories of my people and my culture that’s when I become human myself.” Our students and our community members need stories that we can relate to. Seeing ourselves in stories can help us understand our feelings and can help us feel less isolated when going through struggle. We also need stories that we cannot relate to so that we can better understand others. Our towns are such a small piece of this world. Our job as parents, teachers, and community members is to send our kids into the world with grace, compassion and understanding of people who don’t look, feel or act like they do.
Thank you to the book committee for choosing stories that are inclusive and diverse. These stories have been a gift to me and to so many others.