Thursday, November 29, 2012

Out of the Way! Out of the Way! by Uma Krishnaswami

When my family and I visited Kolkata a few years ago, the sounds of the city stopped me. I was of course a visitor, and everything I encountered was new to me. While out in the community, if someone wanted to talk to me, I would have to stop and turn toward them and listen. I could not walk and talk at the same time. The feast of visions entering my brain through my eyes was literally as much as I could handle at that moment. To talk meant to stop and change focus intentionally. I had to do one thing at a time during my visit there. Yes, I walked away with a gigantic gift of reality.

Out of my Way! Out of my Way! is about that one thing that just wouldn't get out of the way, that really actually rooted in a place could be in the way. A boy notices a small tree growing on a small path in a village in India. He seeks to protect it by placing rocks all around it. When I think of small path in India, I see small and path as oxymorons. I know tons of people will see this differently, but very little in India is small to me. So much is happening all the time that small is difficult to see, to notice, but there is nothing difficult for the Indian people to hold sacred. The boy does this, and life continues all around the tree. It grows and grows, eventually becoming huge and totally important to the community. The tree becomes a place of peacefulness. 

This is a terrific story with fabulous illustrations. I could see reading this with students to open the conversation of what do you care for, what is important to you, and how do you offer your gifts of knowing to the world. Small stuff....uh, not really. Great book...I think you will love this one.

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