For some reason, the idea of doing an episode of GG Sprinkles on shoes just occurred to me on a whim. Well, a whim and my realization that I hadn’t charged my light-up shoes in a while. And that started my taking stock of my shoe collection. I’m not talking about expensive trendy shoes they might wear in the show Sex and the City. Nope, I’m talking about weird shoes that might sparkle, shine, boast vivid colors, light up—or all of the above. In my defense (should I need one), when I broke my ankle a couple of years ago and was depressed that healing didn’t happen overnight as I’d hoped, my husband encouraged me to buy a few pairs of shoes that could serve as goals to get me up and moving in hopes that they would look as good on my feet as they did in their boxes. Those were some pretty obnoxiously gaudy shoes. And I loved them all.
But I can’t claim the ankle as my only excuse for owning interesting shoes. It’s very much who I am. So I charged my light-up shoes (naturally) and dug my most interesting of all my interesting shoes out of my closet and out from under my bed. I wrote a poem about all types of shoes, the many different materials they’re made of, and their various purposes. But I wanted to go a bit further and talk about the benefits of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, as the saying goes. I didn’t think the kids who watch our episodes were too young to grasp the idea of putting themselves in someone else’s place, to understand where another person is coming from, how and why they’re thinking and feeling. I wanted to convince them to try to see things from another’s point of view. That resulted in a second poem about walking a mile in another’s shoes.
I showed the kids my various shoes, including the ruby slippers my daughter Katie made me a sequin at a time and which look eerily and beautifully like the movie shoes, and then read the relevant poetry. It turned out to be a fun episode, and it was well received by parents who watched it. I wish I were better at practicing what I preach when it comes to walking a mile in other people’s shoes, though. I try, of course. At least I have some pretty cool shoes to walk around in while I work to be a better me. And they really do light up. ❤️
I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process.
I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel.
So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!
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