Reprinted from the Phoenix Press with the permission of the 5th grade newspaper club
Have you ever wanted to meet a great author and an incredible woman? Well, we did on Monday, March 12th in the Lower School meeting room and her name is Chelsea Clinton! Chelsea Clinton is an author and also the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Senator Hillary Clinton. You might be asking yourself why such a successful author came to our school. She came here to present her new book called She Persisted Around the World. She is also the author of other books including She Persisted: 13 American Women who Changed the World, and It’s Your World. Fifth graders Sasha G. and Neha introduced her at the assembly.
Chelsea talked about her books and she also talked about how we could make a difference. Something that inspired her to write these books was when Senator Elizabeth Warren refused to be silenced while reading a quote from Coretta Scott King. Here are examples of three women in her book that refused to be silenced in a man’s world:
When Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz was a child growing up in Mexico, it was common that most girls did not go to school, but she knew that was wrong, so Juana Ines decided to read and study on her own. Her plan was to disguise herself as a boy so that she could go to University, but her family didn’t allow her to. Still she persisted and spent lots of time looking for tutors that didn’t mind teaching a girl. Later on she became a nun so that she could focus on her writing. Her poems and plays are still being read today and her Respuesta a Sor Filotea de la Cruz was the first published argument for a woman’s right to education in the Americas.
Nellie Bly chose her job as a reporter because a male writer had once told her that working women were “a monstrosity” and she knew she could prove him wrong. She persisted by putting herself in danger while trying to expose real monstrosities. She pretended to be a sweatshop worker and even a patient in a mental hospital to show how badly people were being treated.
The first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a PhD and become a professor at the University of Nairobi was named Wangari Maathai. Wangari was horrified by how many trees were being cut down all across Kenya, so she planted new trees. She persisted by gathering friends, family, and strangers to help her. She was the first African woman awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Near the end of her presentation, people were allowed to ask questions. Someone asked what it was like living in the White House. She said that to her, “It was home”. One Kindergarten boy named Jack asked if men can persist. She said, “Absolutely!” Abeneezer in 1st grade asked if she will ever run for president. She said you don’t have to be a president to make a change in the world. You just have to be passionate about something and find a way to make it better. And Olivia F. in 4th grade said that she lives in the house where Chelsea’s husband grew up. Chelsea said she would tell Marc (her husband).
Now that you have learned a bit about some wonderful women in this world, we hope that this encourages you, boy or girl, to persist. We are so grateful for Chelsea’s appearance and we encourage you to read her books!
To kick off the upcoming Book Fair, Paula Young Shelton, author of Child of the Civil Rights Movement, presented two assemblies at the Lower School on Friday, February 9. Paula is the daughter of Civil Rights leader, Andrew Young, and her book describes what it was like growing up in the Deep South during Jim Crow. Lower School students learned about segregation, the Freedom Riders, and the Children’s March from Paula, who experienced these events in person as a child.
Our older students had many opportunities to demonstrate their own knowledge of the Civil Rights movement when Paula asked important questions like: “How do you think protestors passed the time when they were arrested and sent to jail?” and “Would you go to jail for something you believed in?” The highlight of the morning was when Paula taught us the freedom song, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” and explained that singing was how protestors communicated and passed time while behind bars. Paula’s powerful message that children can be activists too and change the world made a lasting impression on our young audience.
The 5th grade recently used the library’s digital and print resources to research ancient civilizations from around the world. Students explored the roles of men and women, the foods, the government, and the religions of civilizations from long ago. This exciting research project culminated in the creation of non-fiction books written by the students. These beautiful self-published titles have been assigned official barcodes and are now ready for circulation through our library collection!
When Nursery comes to the library, we have the opportunity to share our love of reading together! Library time with this age group includes stories, nursery rhymes, songs, and movement. Students also spend time browsing picture books for old favorites and new discoveries. FCS Nursery teacher, Tuesday Vanstory, recently wrote an informative blog post about the wonderful Nursery program at Friends’ Central.
From the Children in Our World nonfiction series, Refugees and Migrants and Poverty and Hunger address real world issues in a way that is accessible to children. Through beautiful illustrations and thoughtfully delivered informative text, lower school students will learn about current issues in our world. The refugee crisis, immigration, poverty, and hunger are discussed with sensitivity and important facts are provided to educate our students about current events. These new titles encourage empathy and understanding among young people and both books include a noteworthy section on what we can do to help.
The fifth grade book club is reading The Mixed-up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg and loving every minute of it! This book describes the adventures of Claudia and her brother Jamie, who decide to run away from home and hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A perfect book choice for this year’s fall classroom theme of “the Arts,” The Mixed-up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler just celebrated 50 years since its first publication!
In appreciation of the Quaker testimony of peace, the Lower School Library is highlighting the book Enemy Pie by Derek Munson and Tara Calahan King. This delightful story is about learning conflict resolution and how to turn an enemy into a best friend. After reading the book, third graders were asked “What special ingredient would YOU add to your enemy pie?” Here is what some of our students had to say: