Sunday, February 1, 2015

Library Bag Fave: Albie's First Word - A Tale Inspired by Albert Einstein's Childhood by Jacqueline Tourville & Illustrations by Wynne Evans

While I was teaching, I would head to the library a couple times a week. I'd grab as many new picture books as I could, making sure my bag was still light enough to carry to the car. Before teaching a tech lesson, I chose one new picture book to read to my classes FIRST. This is something I struggled with ...should  I be taking time from tech? But over and over it would prove to be a favorite time for all of my students. Especially the older kids, because they rarely got the chance to still read or check out picture books. And you know about peer pressure and looking "babyish". One day I needed to get the kids going on a project in tech, skipping reading a book. One of my redhead fifth grade boys (whom I'll lovingly NEVER forget) looked at me and said, "We're not going to read a book first?" with the saddest and most disappointed look on his face. It was one of the key moments when I knew reading to them was the right thing to do. My hope is that I instilled the love of books and reading in my students because I loved it myself, showed them, and read to them.

Now that I've retired, I haven't changed my habit at all. My Goodreads 2015 goal is 365 books and I'm 20 books ahead of schedule. Finding and reading new picture books really is one of those simple things in my life that brings me pure joy. When I walk up to the shelf with the new picture books, more times than not, I will start giggling at one of the covers. Or I will get really excited because someone I LOVE is featured in a new book. This time it was a new book about Albert Einstein. (Check out a previous post on an Albert Einstein book titled "On a Beam of Light".)

From debut illustrator Wynne Evans' gorgeous illustrations to the what if question posed by author Jacqueline Tourville, we have "Albie's First Word". She has written many books about child health and development. An article she read about Einstein being a late talker interested her. She herself had a child that was a late talker and so did I. I would call my mom and fret about our son STILL not talking. She'd tell me that he was fine and when he started talking we'd wish he'd stop. And of course she was right. Albie's mother worried, too, and took him to a doctor who suggested taking him to the symphony, a professor's lecture, and being around other at a local boat race. Albie won the race but still did not talk when he was presented the trophy, he just held it high in the air. Albie's parents decided if he never spoke one word, they would always love him anyway.

We know of course that he became a brilliant scientist and a great mind of our times. Tourville gives us a delightful "tale" of what that first word could have been. Of course, no one knows for sure, but I think she came up with the perfect choice. I'm not tellling, so, what do YOU think his first word might have been?