Empowerment – the importance of having a voice

I recently revisited a series of posts about the value of using Eric Carle‘s picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar in an early childhood setting; home or classroom.

In this post I share a follow-up to that series which addressed the issue of empowering children by giving them a voice. At the time the post attracted quite a few thought-provoking comments which are worth reading if you haven’t already done so.

In one of those comments it was suggested that perhaps a new edition with a correction made in response to children’s comments could be considered. It is not unlike the suggestion by Steven in the previous post that correct information be provided at the end of the book. It was felt that the “correction” would be seen by children as a response to their requests and help them see the value in voicing their opinions.

But this post goes beyond a debate about the correctness of “cocoon” or “chrysalis”. It states the case for empowering children by giving them a voice.

I appreciate your readership, and your comments. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post, including past and current comments.

Norah Colvin

In a previous series of posts I wrote about science inaccuracies in a picture book and questioned with whom lay the responsibility for providing young children with correct information.

While this post builds upon those posts, it also takes a divergent path: the need for children to have a voice; to be empowered to ask questions, to state their needs and report wrongdoings.

On a highly respected educational website Scholastic, with the by-line “Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life.”, in an article about Eric Carle author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, children are told that

“Eric already knows that a caterpillar emerges from a chrysalis, not a cocoon! So don’t bother writing to tell him.”

This seemingly innocuous statement may be easily overlooked but packs a powerful message.

What does it tell children?

The author has been told many times, already knows and isn’t going to…

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4 thoughts on “Empowerment – the importance of having a voice

  1. Sarah Brentyn

    Wow. I’ve commented on your previous posts but I agree “this post goes beyond a debate about the correctness of ‘cocoon’ or ‘chrysalis’.” Maybe they’re trying to make this funny (there are probably tons of people who have corrected him) or acknowledge the “mistake” but the wording is what caught me: “So don’t bother writing to tell him.” That should be rewritten. It’s crappy. And directed at kids. I agree with you on this. We should be encouraging kids to write and voice their opinions–in a respectful way but still encouraging it.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for coming back to this and commenting again. I’m pleased you see what I feel is so important about this issue. 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  2. Marylin Warner

    Norah, I went back and read the other posts, and although I found the debate interesting, when it comes to reading books to/with my grandchildren, I break with all the correctness, interpretation and analysis that had to be a part of my 30 years as a high school English and literature teacher. For me, reading to/with my grandchildren is a gift, being included in their adventures, diving in with them into the stories, and savoring their comments about the the story, the lessons, the characters, and in general just going along on the adventure. THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR was a delight, and I was glad to experience it with them.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Marylin. I agree that reading to/with grandchildren is definitely a gift. To hear the delight in their voices and see the smiles on their faces cannot be matched.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

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