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I've taught in urban schools for almost thirty years. And while I love, love, love what I do, and would never want to be anywhere else, some days are just down right hard. There are days, lots of them, when I think, "I do not want to hear another story about someone's mom going to jail. I do not want to look at another child and wonder whether we can find someone to donate a coat. I do not want to comfort another child who needs a mommy far more than they need a teacher."
Days like that, I need to surround myself with books that help me to believe and to hang on. Books about people who have made it in spite of seemingly insurmountable odds. OPRAH: THE LITTLE SPEAKER is one of those books. This picture book biography by noted children's author Carole Boston Weatherford details the life of Oprah Winfrey. But not her life as a talk show hostess. Or magazine editor. Or actress. Instead, it tells the story of Oprah's growing up years on her grandparents' pig farm. The family did not have indoor plumbing. Oprah did not have a bed of her own. She wore shoes only on Sundays. But she had a grandma who told her she could be anything she wanted to be. Who taught her to read and write. And prayed and believed that God had big plans for her.
My students need to read lots of books like this.