Last month, Oprah, Will Smith and Stephen King were all in DC. Our Nation’s Capital powerhoused the National Book Festival and the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture: big people and big moments. However, true to Brave Tutu, I’m going to focus on a small striking moment: a kid with a self-made cape. This child ignored stretching lines for famous authors like Katherine Patterson and Salman Rushdie. Instead, he laughed and laughed, chasing his friend as the red power source flowed behind him. Around kindergarten age, this boy’s repurposed National Book Festival bag was a cape: truly super-hero worthy.
Of course, literacy holds the capacity for flight and power. I don’t need to spend time spelling out the metaphor. Instead, let’s think about the memories that little guy now carries from a day filled with books. His game took full advantage of the stretching, carpeted spaces. He wasn’t alone. Close by a dad sat on the blue ground and read to his son. A few feet away, a mother asked me to take a picture of her with her daughter; she said, “We want to capture the bounty.” As she spread out their book favors from the day, I snapped pictures. The daughter seemed unable to take a picture without bunny ears or giggles. All these kids mentioned will, hopefully, equate bliss with the book day.
I’ll admit, I carry a biased lens. Center for the Book is under the Library of Congress and I can’t help but feel true pride in what our National team created. As a children’s author and Coordinator for Texas Center for the Book, I could easily make ALL my articles about literacy power. However, Brave Tutu isn’t about tackling the global. Instead, our mission is admiration of the small, but significant. I delight in that boy’s decision to use his red bag in a different way. Bridge to Terabithia author Katherine Patterson said that day, “We all have our own Terabithia.” In her book, characters escaped to Terabithia and were wonderfully alive and themselves; it’s not a secret that she provides this same escape for her readers. At that book festival, this kid’s cape seemed to take him into his own universe. Chasing his friend, he was so into his game, he almost ran into me. His imagination made his experience unique, and I hope, memorable.
I’d like to hear about memories from your childhood. What sliver of time shaped you, but you had no idea at the time? What are some happy happenings, like a book-bag-cape, that stem strength today? It doesn’t matter how “small” they seem, because with Brave Tutu that’s kind of our thing: to take courage and delight in small moments. I, as always, look forward to hearing yours.
Your Brave Tutu (You’re Brave Too-Too)
-Take courage in delight. Discover power in small moments.