Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lupines and Literature

After a long an cold winter and a really long and cold lead up, it appears that spring may finally be here. The Phillies are back in action. The daffodils are up. And the seeds I started in the window have sprouted.

This year Kara and I started a bunch of flowers again. (If you are looking for a great end of year teacher gift, start some Morning Glory of Zinnias, and by the time June is here you can transfer them to a bigger pot so your kid's teacher can plant then in his/her garden. Cheap, homemade, fun to do with kids.) We put in Morning Glories, Zinnias, Shasta Daisies, Phlox. But we are the most excited to see what happens to the Lupine seeds we planted.

Now up until a year ago, I had never even heard of Lupines. But then Kara and I read Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. This book is fabulous. A great story, wonderful message and gorgeous illustrations.

The narrator, Alice, it tells the life story of her aunt, Miss Alice Rumphius. We see the elder Alice go from working with her grandfather in a coastal town to helping children as a librarian to traveling the world to settling down in a coastal town of her own.

It is in this last chapter of her life that Miss Rumphius figures out how to fulfill the mission her grandfather gave her as a little girl, "Make the world more beautiful." Sprinkling the town with Lupine seeds and watching them grow over the generations, Miss Rumphius, beautifies her town and teaches its children that whatever you do in life, make sure you leave the world a little more beautiful in the process.

Admittedly, this particular children's book has sentimental meaning to me as it was a gift from Libby, one of the best students I ever taught. When I was at the end of my pregnancy, the girls in my senior English class gave me a basket of books; one from each girl and each inscribed with a message to me and my soon to be born daughter. In the history of teacher gifts I ever received, this one remains the clear winner.

So thanks, Libby, for the great book. Looking forward to seeing our how our Lupines do this year. Just one step towards making our world a little more beautiful.

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