“I already know where Africa is
and I already know how to
count to ten and
I went to school every day last year,
why do I have to go again?”
From beloved author, Lucille Clifton’s children’s book Everett Anderson’s Year. Illustrated by Ann Grifalconi. I just discovered this poem, yesterday, when this book arrived in the mail. Buying Lucille Clifton’s children’s literature on a budget is an art in itself. Since most of her vital work for young people is out of print, prices can be staggering, and then at times. …not staggering at all. I snagged this one off of the big A online for about $3 just in time for the school year to begin. This was published in the 1970’s, yet it completely bypassed my childhood library life. I only first heard of it about a year ago, when I discovered “who” Lucille Clifton was. All this literature that existed when we were children in the 80’s…if we actually got a taste of it, how much further in security and identity would our generation be? Danny and the Dinosaur taught me nil about how to navigate life, yet it is still a top seller in the child lit world. Syd Hoff – Hmph. Lucille Clifton – holla! Her poems in Everett Anderson’s Year are so on-point and K2-ready that my heart swells up a bit with each page I turn. My ever-evolving classroom library stays engaging my students. Poems like this remind us to never assume that the little people we teach don’t have waves of complex emotions and perspectives. Our job is not to teach them. Our job is to let them teach us.
Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher…..and Lucille Clifton in your classroom.