Archive for January, 2016

Holding pinkies around the globe

I know to my bones how important it is to be humble and playful as we dance up to the cultural divide and stare over.  Respectful curiosity goes a long way. Calmness goes a long way.  Hubris is a good thing to leave behind.

The community of third culture kids is deep and wide with many things to separate us from each other–but I’ve never met another third culture kid who didn’t seem a lot like me.  And when we talk about respect for other cultures…well…I think that’s really important, of course. But I also think there is a culture of women around the globe. There is a culture of readers and writers and artists.  We  have lots of common ground.

This is an Ethiopia Reads school being built.  It’s a great image for how I feel as I set out for Odyssey II.  Precarious. Hanging on the edge. But aware of those holding my hand.1 foundation of support for building projects

Three writers (one who is pretty good in Amharic), two American painters, an amateur photographer who wants to help document the trip, two Ethiopian painters…we’re going to see what we can do to create our own art together but also to start creating a body of simple, playful, culturally appropriate, local language books that can go into the schools and libraries where Ethiopian kids are just learning to read.

1 Stephanie

Stephanie Schlatter, the American artist here, has done a lot of art work with kids in Ethiopia.  As she and I have discussed, visual art dodges the language question that is so hard as we struggle with sharing books.  I believe we will find the shared language of art on this trip and we will come back changed…if nothing else from a week lived off the electric grid.

1 empowering women through strong models

Tough team.  Watch this space for more!

Stories circle the globe

http://www.ethiopiareads.org/ethiopian-odyssey-ii  I’m super jazzed to talk with my Vermont College of the Fine Arts students about how to think about the progression of a tale. I’m also super jazzed to see what this artistic collaboration can bring to some very simple, easy-to-read stories that can be used by Ethiopian educators, especially after they’re translated into various local languages.  I created this one from a story that’s told in Ethiopia and around the world…and Noh and Ellemae and I tried to teach ourselves a tiny bit about how illustrators work with perspective. See what you think.

01 turtle flower

She talked about flowers.

01 turtle ants

01 turtle wanted to touch clouds

01 turtle eagle

01 turtle touch clouds

01 turtle flying

 

01 turtle last picture

01 turtle goat friend

 

 

And another simple story for Ethiopia

01 secret a bag

01 secret what's inside

01 secret jumps01 secret thuds

01 secret

01 secret is out

01 secret last page

Our challenge to ourselves–a third grader, a fifth grader and me–was to think of American sayings or proverbs or idioms that we could turn into simple, easy-to-read stories.  These will be translated into various local languages. And of course part of the collection, ultimately, will be stories made from Ethiopian sayings or proverbs or idioms, too.

Book making project for Ethiopia

01 donkey first page

01 The donkey pulls the cart01 They see a hill01 Go01 donkey starts01 the donkey stops01 donkey snorts01 the donkey sits01 Get out

01 donkey last page