Our Featured Friend: Once Upon A Memory
Written by Nina Laden, Illustrated by Renata Liwska
What are some of your favorite things to remember? In the daily tasks and routine of life, I find myself looking at life as how it is now without really giving thought to the past. Through simple questions and precious illustrations, Laden and Liwska help us slow down for a moment to remember.
Introducing Our Featured Friend: Once Upon A Memory
In considering the origins of things, we pull back the present to view the beginnings of what we have and see right now. In remembering the past, we can appreciate the present.
To children, this 7 couplet poetry, picture book can help them enjoy their world more fully. To adults, it can help us remember the best parts of life.
C.S. Lewis said, “A children’s story which is only enjoyed by children is a bad children’s story”. This book is a good story.
Laden’s 7 couplets are spread out over 32 pages, slowly unfolding memories. How else can we really appreciate the complexity and simplicity of life all at once unless it’s presented slowly and purposefully? Laden and Liwiska do just that:
Does a feather remember it once was . . . a bird?
Does a book remember it once was . . . a word?
Does work remember it once was . . . play?
Does night remember it once was . . . day?
. . . And the ending makes this book one of my favorite:
Does the world remember it once was . . . wild?
Will you remember you once were . . . a child?
Inviting You To Become FRIENDS With Once Upon A Memory:
Feel, Relate, Imagine, Explore, Navigate, Develop, Share
From the 7 suggestions, select the questions and activities that best fit your audience:
F- Which picture and part of the poem makes you feel reflective? To which page do you find yourself turning back? Why?
R- How do you relate to this poem by remembering and appreciating the beginnings of something special in your life? *For example, if you have a garden or a plant, do you remember when it was a seed? If you raise animals, do you remember when it was just the mommy and daddy? If your an older sibling, do you remember what it was like before another child was born? If your family built a home, do you remember when it was just the foundation? Try to draw or describe something special to you from where it really began.
I- Imagine that you get to relive one of your favorite days. Close your eyes and remember what you did that day by capturing the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and textures that make up that memory.
E- Explore your surroundings in a unique way by slowing down, looking at a few parts of nature and finding their origins (beginnings).
N- Navigate (map out) your reflections from the activity above by drawing some sketches or writing your own poem based on what you observed.
D- Develop a list of your favorite memories.
S- Share your list of “Favorite Things To Remember” by doing a “round robin” with your audience (go around the group several times sharing one memory each round). If possible, do some of the favorite things on your list with the kids in your life and do some of the favorite things on their list. Make more memories! Together you can write a sequel.
“The art was initially sketched by hand in the artist’s journal. It was then scanned and colored in Adobe Photoshop. The animal characters were inspired by the artist’s experiences with nature, from her worldwide travels to her own backyard.”
“Remember the days of old, consider the generations long past. . . “. Deuteronomy 32:7
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