I just finished reading the most marvelous coloring book! I know, I know, reading? A coloring book? How does that happen?
It happens when the words are as charming, brave, bold, humorous and touching as the pictures. It happens when the coloring book makes you not only want to go out and buy yourself a shiny new box of colored pencils to color again, but also when you want to quote the words you read to all your friends.
The coloring book, “Sometimes The Spoon Runs Away With Another Spoon” re-imagines the gender biased world in which we live and celebrates the true complexities and facets of the human spirit. It re-creates nursery rhymes and fairy tales within which our real-life, intricate and complex little boys and girls can be themselves.
I wish I could reproduce one of Nathaniel Kusinitz’s charming drawings for you, but the best I can do to give you a flavor for this wonderful coloring book is to quote a couple of my favorite pages, written by Jacinta Bunnell:
“For every girl who throws out her E-Z bake oven, there is a boy who wishes to find one.”
“Diddle Diddle Dumpling, my son John,
Went to bed with a pretty dress on,
One shoe off and one shoe on,
Diddle Diddle Dumpling, my son John.”
When I was in elementary school, another child on the playground asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. “A scientist,” I proudly proclaimed. The other child looked at me sneered, “Only boys can be scientists.”
While this anecdote may date me, and most children today know that girls can have any profession they want, our society is still fraught with misunderstanding about what it really means to be a boy or a girl with the myriad feelings, intricate thoughts, and complicated preferences that all individuals have. We still pigeonhole our children’s spirits by believing things like, “that’s the way boys think,” or “only girls have those feelings” or “you can’t like that, it’s for girls / boys.”
We’ve come a long way toward breaking down the boundaries so men and women are free to have the same jobs – isn’t it time that we free our children’s spirits as well?
“Sometimes that Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon” is available at www.reachandteach.com. Reach and Teach is a peace and social justice learning company that publishes and distributes books, music, posters, games, curriculum and DVDs that focus on peacemaking and healing the planet.