There’s More to Life than Politics

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Last year when I started this book parade I included a book entitled Of the I Sing, A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama. In fact, it was the last book of the book parade.  That same day I received an email from someone who does personally know me, although not very well.  In her email she said that while she enjoyed the parade, she was disappointed that I took the opportunity to impose my political beliefs on my readers or to influence young children.  I was surprised to say the least.  I was also annoyed and I did not respond in any way.  I completely ignored the email… until now.  Those people who know me well know that I am very passionate about children, reading and early childhood education.  I am the person who reads children’s books just because I want to.  I am the person who checks out books at the library and still maintains a fairly large personal library in my home.  I will never be someone who really gets into reading on a tablet because I love the smell and feel of actual books.  I get excited about buying books that I’ve been waiting to be released.  I waited in line with my son at midnight for the release of the last Harry Potter book.  The others I pre-ordered so they would be delivered to my door on the day of the release.  We would spend the next week sharing the book only to finish it and spend the next month or so discussing what we thought would happen in the next one. I’m a reader and I raise readers.  Do you get me? I’m that girl!

The only reason that I included the book by President Obama is that it’s a really good book.  He is an excellent writer and the book, a love letter to his daughters, pays homage to a wide range of people who have had an impact on the fabric of this country.  More importantly, everything is not about politics.  While I have no problem discussing my political beliefs at appropriate times, I do not approach everything from a political perspective.  I approach everything from a human perspective.  Furthermore, I do not have to agree with someone’s political opinion in order to find good in them.  I do not see this world through red or blue colored glasses – quite possibly rose-colored at times.  So, when I selected this next book for this year’s book parade I remembered that email and thought that I should address this just in case I am accused yet again of playing politics.  I am not. Don’t even bother sending me that email if you are inclined to do so because I will not respond.  With that being said…

Condoleezza Rice, A Memoire of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me, by Condoleeza Rice

Condoleezza Rice, A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me, by Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice, A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me, By Condoleezza Rice is just that – a story about how a young, Black girl born during segregation in the South went on to become the 66th Secretary of State of the United States of America.  Ordinary she is not.  She is extremely bright,  and comfortable in her own skin.  Although she does talk about bigotry, racial tensions and growing up during the Civil Rights Movement (she was actually friends with two of the four Black girls that were killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham) , she is almost matter of fact about it.  Clearly something that helped shape her, but also clearly just another part of her story.   Her description of her family is candid and loving, despite their imperfections, and it’s obvious that her family ties run deep.  As do her friendships throughout her life.  The thing that struck me most about her is that she is extremely versatile.  She is a well-trained classical pianist that has performed with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Aretha Franklin (two of my favorite artists on the planet).  She is a former figure skater (although she describes herself as not very good at it) and, of course a history buff.  While the book is not necessarily entertaining, it is engaging because she is so relate-able.  In her search to  figure our who she was and where she was headed, she reminded me of most young people out there just trying to sort things out.  Yet, it was her adventurous spirit that led her to try new things and ultimately take the path that she chose all the way to Capitol Hill. Yes, she is a trailblazer for girls everywhere  – particularly young Black girls.  This book is definitely on our “must read” list as our girls get older (recommended for ages 10 and up).  

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