Sunday, February 17, 2013

Carmen Agra Deedy--Storyteller and Author Extraordinaire

"Storytellers are the most powerful people on earth.  They might not be the best paid, but they are the most powerful.  Storytellers have the power to move the human heart--and there is no greater power on earth." --Laurie H. Hutzler

I love to read and always have.  My grandmother instilled this love of reading in me.  I remember sitting in her chair with her while she read books to me.  I was very young and she always took the time to read whatever book I brought for her to read to me.  My Aunt Teresa also contributed to my love of reading as she had me enrolled in several book clubs as I was growing up.   Books would be delivered in the mail on a monthly basis.   Although my mom was not a reader, she also contributed by never questioning anything that I ever read. If I was reading, whatever the book was fine with her.

After becoming a teacher, I saw first hand the power of children's literature.  There are so many picture books and children's books that are amazing and very powerful in many ways

Several years ago, I found a book that to me is the most beautiful book I have ever read.  It is called "The Last Dance" written by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Debrah Santini.   

This book is about the cycle of life, the importance of family, and the limitless power of love.  

I was so excited to meet Carmen several years ago when I went to the International Reading Association Conference.   She gave me her card and phone number and I had hoped to have her come to Gilbert El sometime.  That never happened, but she visited Douglas Unified School District on February 6.   

Carmen is a warm, funny, sincere human being.  She told three different stories to our fifth graders and then to parents and families after school was over.  I was fortunate to hear two of her stories.  The children were totally into the stories she told.   There was so much laughter and joy that day.

I had the great fortune to go to lunch with Carmen.   And she is a warm, funny, sincere human being.   I love all of her books, but I shared with her what "The Last Dance" has meant to me.   Through the years, I have given this book to friends after they have lost a loved one, particularly a parent.   In the book, the grandfather tells his grandchildren that every human being has the right to three things in life:

TO DANCE.  The great thing in life is   not so much to dance well,
but whether one is willing to dance at all.

TO SING,  Even if you   sing off-key.  The crow has as much right
to a voice as the nightingale.

TO TELL STORIES.  Those we love are 
 never  really gone as long as their stories are told.

Every October, we try to get together as a family and tell stories about my mom.  She died Oct. 6 and her birthday was Oct. 8.   Although Cameron was only four when she died, I believe that the times that we have told her stories makes him think that he remembers her more.  "Those we love are never really gone as long as their stories are told."

Through the years, I have been honored to deliver eulogies for special friends and relatives.  I have used this quote often.  And this is so true.

Last week, I got an email from our cousin, Allyson, who teaches in Atlanta.  Carmen is from Georgia and she was at Allyson's school.   She told Allyson that she loved coming to Douglas and is looking forward to coming back!  What a small world it is!!

Meeting Carmen and seeing what a wonderful person she is means so much to me.  I feel honored and privileged to have been able to share her with our kids and families!!

"After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world."--Philip Pullman

I couldn't agree more!!   

1 remarks:

Nancy Proffitt said...

I am so happy for you that Carmen was able to come to Douglas!! I know how happy that must have made you. You can now check that off your bucket list!!!
Love & hugs,