Turns out, workshopping Here Comes Ingo, Mom's Choice Gold Award winner alongside prestigious childhood staples such as ABC Mouse and Tickle Monster is the gift that keeps giving. I introduced Ingo to this wonderful group of second graders (Brooklyn School of Inquiry) in the hope that they would love the book as much as I loved creating each and every one of the hand-crafted collages filled with fun details and wrapped in Disney-like colors.
I invited the children to make inferences as to what the characters were thinking, feeling and doing. I invited them to immerse in Ingo's dream world of unexpected vistas, colors and shapes. I invited them to be open to new things, even if they may not make sense at first glance (after all, it is not everyday that one gets to see a shark eating cupcakes with gusto or a merry band of birds& frogs piggybacking on a chubby fish or even a solitary wolf improbably wrapped in a rainbow). Most importantly, I invited them to not feel discouraged and scared in front of the unexpected and the unknown. Much like Ingo, I invited the children to rely on their ability to keep an open mind in order to embrace what at first may seem strange because it is very important to learn how to be understanding, tolerant and kind.
I left the classroom with a last reminder to understand that one's voice is one's own and each one of those wonderfully bright and curious students should do their very best to cultivate it.
To my great surprise and absolute pleasure, the very next day a thick stack of Thank You Notes was delivered to me. Each child wrote and illustrated his/her take on the book concept. A few thanked me for coming to their class and spending time with them. Others were enthused by the hands-on interactive open end creative experiences we all shared. Others yet felt encouraged to "write" their own stories.
Thank You Notes BOOK is one I will cherish for a very long time.