Today I was transported back to my school library author week from December 4 - 8, 2006. Why you ask? This was the week that the National Book Residency sent children's book author, Miriam Cohen for the whole week. I had never before had a writer for a week. This was a red carpet event and one of my lasting memories. Ms. Cohen brought magic to the school.
Anyway, Ms. Cohen has written a new book, Layla's Head Scarf. When we met in 2006 she promised to dedicate the book to several teachers she was working with at the time. This afternoon I arrived home to a delivery notice. I did not recognize the address until I received the package at the Post Office. It was a copy of Layla's Head Scarf. The Dedication reads to Laura Jackson, Shelia Kapur, Jessie Staub, and Sandra Vizcanio at P.S. 27, and Elizabeth O'Brien at P.S. 84. Then Ms. Cohen writes, "I got so much inspiration from your beautiful work in the library! Thank you!"
Miriam Cohen has a special way of touching on classroom moments. This title definately fits the multicultural world of a New York City Public School classroom. Layla is new to the first grade and is shy to participate in class activities because she wears a special head scarf. The main part of the story takes place in the library (First Grade loved library time). Reading this part felt like a typical library time in my library. The librarian gives Layla a special book about her country where her family comes from. The librarian also shows the book to the rest of the class so they can see where Layla comes from. She also highlights pictures showing many ladies with scarves.
However, during Art when Layla draws her family wearing scarves Danny starts to make fun of the scarves and Layla begins to cry. The teacher comes to see what is happening and Jim said, "Look! Layla drew such a nice picture! All the ladies are wearing pretty scarves like Layla's. This makes Layla smile. Her shyness slowly starts to disappear.
All the stars of the "First Grade Friends" series are back as they welcome a new classmate. Ms. Cohen has captured another "first grade moment" in her lastest book and I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with her.
Check out this interview with Author, Miriam Cohen: