It’s been three years since I’ve been able to put together a collection of allegorical fiction with my fifth graders, but this year we’re doing it!
I always love this project because it taps into the wealth of wisdom, perspective and potential these kids carry with them. I mean, I see it in them, and it makes my heart smile when they recognize it within themselves.
For each collection, I spend hours – hours! – cultivating the anthology, breaking it up into meaningful sections that flow from one into the other. And then there’s writing the introduction and finding the epigraph to bring it all together.
And I haven’t quite got the order of the book down, but I have composed the introduction. I’m sharing it here as a preview. I like doing this kind of writing. It allows me to love on my kids a little extra. Enjoy.
So much has happened between the publishing of Volumes 3 and 4 of this collection. COVID upended our lives, bringing fear, disruption, and trauma with it. The spectre of war, climate change and conflict looms large in our world. The quest for truth and justice has become clouded by the question of what truth even is anymore.
And our children, they see it.
They take notice.
Whether or not we wish them to, our children pay attention to the world around them. They watch. They listen. As they do, they begin to develop their own sense of justice, of right and wrong. They need us to hear their wisdom, and to stop underestimating their power because they’re young.
Their concerns, their frustrations, and yes, even some of their anger, are all represented here in a powerful collection of allegorical fiction.
Read their work. Hear their voices.
-Lainie Levin, 2022
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” Elie Wiesel
Post script: I’m not usually so stark and plain in my language for these introductions. And yet, I can’t think of any other way to express what I need to say for this particular collection. So…here it is.