New Hampshire Humanities presents the 2017 Connections Family Literacy Festival, “Our Stories; Our Community,” a celebration of food, songs, dancing, and stories.

“A good plan always starts with an idea and a pencil.” So begins a story Jason H. wrote for his three children during a Connections book discussion series on the theme of imagination. Participants read a simple children’s picture book and then wrote a corresponding story. Jason continues, “You’re going to want to write it down if it’s a fantastic idea worth remembering. May has decided she wants to fly to the planet Saturn using her mom’s old airplane.

At MindsEye Designs art studio in Dover a small group of student artists sat around a paint-splattered table, discussing the life and work of Georgia O’Keefe. They were about to read Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O’Keefe Painted What She Pleased by Amy Novesky and Yuyi Morales. This wonderfully-accessible book, with its simple narrative and striking illustrations, tells the story of the artist’s seminal trip to Hawaii. 

At a recent Connections session in Manchester, participants discussed the book Gandhi, a March to the Sea written by Alice McGinty with illustrations by Thomas Gonzalez. New to our book list and an instant hit, this luminous picture book tells the story of Gandhi’s 1930 march to the Arabian Sea to protest the British-imposed salt tax.

Children’s literature is full of heroes. And for good reason: young children live in the imaginative world of who they will become, taking example from the strongest model at hand. But what role does the hero play for adult learners, especially those who are challenged by immigration, poverty or incarceration? Do the heroic subjects of children’s literature convey meaningful messages for these readers, as well?

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