written and illustrated by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt
2016 (Kane Miller)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Just because another can't see this world like you,
doesn't make things impossible, or mean they are not true.
Cordelia was a high flyer. She soared because she believed that she could. The more she believed, the higher she went. With the birds and above the dolphins in the sea, Cordelia made friends everywhere. The sky may have been the limit for others, but not for her. The moon smiled and the stars loved to dance when they saw her. Happiness enveloped Cordelia until doubts were raised. She tried to explain how she took flight and the things that she saw, but to no avail. After heaps of derision, Cordelia began to doubt. The flying stopped. No twirling, spinning, smiling; no gliding on the breeze. Her friends in the sea, sky, and space missed her. Gradually, Cordelia became like everyone else. Living in a drab, gray world, she decided that something had to change. Cordelia got her swagger back by nixing the naysayers. They weren't going to be the boss of her. If she wanted to fly, she was going to fly. Cordelia was set free because she believed in herself, even if nobody else did.
Give me a spunky, independent protagonist any day of the week! Discussions about believing in yourself and thinking independently are needed in every classroom. What's doubly nice about Cordelia is that it's written in rhyme which makes for a great shared reading experience. Projecting it on your board, you can work on reading in phrases as opposed to word by word. Finally, I would encourage adults to read this book. We need to make sure we're not squashing the hopes of kids who dare to dream big. Let's encourage our students in their endeavors and not cut off their wings. And maybe, like Cordelia, you'll learn to fly again too. It's never too late.