As a children's author, I often write stories about new birth. Stories about younger siblings joining in the family, or about the baby chicks in spring. I've written action rhymes about the metamorphosis that takes place when a caterpillar is reborn as a butterfly.
But today, I'm writing a story about a different kind of birth. The birth of a brand-new country.
Last week, just after America celebrated it's birthday, the continent of Africa officially added another name to its list of countries: South Sudan. I've taken some time to follow the story, considering the implications it has on student learning. My daughter's one-week old atlas has already become outdated, for example. But writing for children about the birth of a brand-new country also has opportunity–it's laced with relevancy, and provides an engaging platform to discuss our own history, or even the human condition.
Although I'm not planning a trip to South Sudan anytime soon, the story I'm crafting right now loosely parallels the birth of our country and South Sudan.
Whether or not I'll ever submit it anywhere is another story. For now, I'm content as a witness from afar penning a tale for my own children about life in another place.
My goal? That through the story, my children will figure out that despite thousands of miles and across the language barrier that human beings around the world have dreams and hopes in common.
Happy birthday, South Sudan. Wishing you all the best.