I saw Kathleen Pelley speak at CCIRA this year. Twice. I was completely enthralled by her spark, her joy, her wholehearted living of a writerly life, and, of course, by her lilting accent. She is delightful.
My order went in for her books that afternoon, and I have been slowly unveiling them to my students ever since. The Giant King received great applause from my first and second graders, especially when “a wee lass” tried to cover the chilly giant with her own small coat as night fell. Quiet voices were whispering across our circle that they would have done that exact same thing – and I absolutely agree. They would have. The Sandal Artist was an especially lovely treat, as when I opened the beautifully illustrated cover to read, I saw that we had received an autographed copy. Now, I am not sure who Helen is, but I thank her for offering up this practically brand new book that now lives in and is loved by our classroom.
The story’s embedded messages of empathy were not lost upon my students, who are well-versed in the social-emotional tools of The Toolbox. The Empathy Tool was discussed at length after the “movie read” of The Sandal Artist, my students collectively came up with a “bumper sticker” to clearly state the heart of this story, and then we added the book and its bumper sticker to our wall collection of lessons we’ve learned through literature.
My take-home-lesson? Never miss an opportunity to be inspired by Kathleen Pelley. She spreads her love of story and her love of truth and goodness wherever she goes, be it in person or through her published books. She is delightful. Your heart will love her.