Sighs and Symbolism

We have had some interesting discussions during our library lessons last week! In our story, Spring and Autumn – A Japanese Story, we came across sentences like “Princes, warriors and even gods came from near and far, to gaze at the princess [Dear Delight of the World] and offer precious gifts,” and “I saw her walking here in the palace garden and knew at once that I must ask her to be my wife.” That evoked some eye rolling and sighing from the older grades. They said that “just because she is beautiful that doesn’t mean she is a good person,” and “How can you know you want to marry someone whom you haven’t even met or talked with, only seen in the garden!”. It was a bit awkward, but very meaningful, to talk about when you know you love someone, and what it means to marry someone. And how marriage has meant different things throughout different times and places!

I asked the students to listen to the story with their “mythology” ears switched on. What if you intrepet the princess as a symbol of happiness? Then suddenly, the sentence “How could such a dull-looking boy, dressed in grey, marry the most beautiful princess, Dear Delight of the World?” could hint to the idea that a ‘normal’ person, or simply a humble person, maybe wonders if he or she is worthy of happiness in their lives. You can imagine that reading a mythological story – one that feels old-fashioned for our current perspectives on equality, gender and agency – through a symbolic lens, opens the door to thoughtful reflections. The story concluded with the statement that autumn is the saddest time of the year. So we ended our circle time with sharing our opinions whether this was true or not.

We didn’t read this story in all classes. For some, I chose to read one of our fantastic picture books featuring artists from all over the world. Students were amazed to learn about Yayoi Kusama and Georgia O’Keeffe. As a matter of fact, in this short school week, I will be reading these picture books to the Tuesday and Wednesday classes.

Sophie and I realize that these blog posts are mostly geared towards the PYP students. When Sophie meets with the LGRP students, she shows and talks about many different books. Sometimes this is based on a theme, a special day, new books that have come in, or as a result of students’ requests. Know that all books (and our guidance in helping find the right book) in the library are accessible and available to all students in our school!

The Read-A-Thon-requests-books are slowly trickling in. I am trying to cover them as they arrive, and Sophie tries to keep up with the cataloging, so all Read-A-Thon participants can borrow (and more importantly, read!) their requested books. Here is what has come in so far:

Thank you for reading our blog! We wish you a fun, short school/work week – and a beautiful long weekend!

Happy Reading!

Sophie & Fleur

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