So last week on the blog, I reviewed Friends for Freedom, but unlike with my other picture book reviews, you may have noticed that I didn’t include a reaction from my kids.
This was because I hadn’t read it to them.
I thought they were too young, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk about slavery, women’s rights, etc. with my 5 year old. I didn’t know if Pre-K Monkey could handle it, and I wasn’t sure I wanted her to know how unfair people in this world can be. Despite all of this though, I was really curious what her reaction would be, so later last week after I’d posted my review, I decided to give it try anyway since the text is so straightforward and concise.
While I was reading it out loud, I could tell it was going over their heads. While reading, I explained a little bit about what slavery was and why men and women weren’t usually friends (as the book mentions). Obviously, Toddler Monkey really didn’t get it, and I hadn’t expected her to. Pre-K Monkey was following along a lot better, and had her “I’m processing this” look on her face, but she didn’t say much. I decided maybe she really was too young after all and left it at that.
Then last night, pre-K monkey surprised me. She found the book on the floor and really, really wanted to read it again. She asked tons of questions. Wanted to know why Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass became friends, why it was unusual they had become friends, and why people didn’t like that they were friends. I ended up reading the book twice to her (actually she wanted me to read it again, but it was late so I said no). With the lights out, we had a small discussion about treating people equally and not letting people tell you what you can and can’t do. “Like how pink is a color for girls AND boys!” she said, making a connection with a different conversation we’d had before. She had so much to say about this and so many more questions, in the end her questions really just exceeded my expectations.
I can’t believe I’d underestimated her!