The genesis of Blue Sky was a conversation I enjoyed with a teacher many years ago. During our talk she made a fascinating observation, so, as is my habit, I jotted it down and tossed the note into my â€œIdea Box.â€ The teacher told me that she was in the midst of â€œSky Study Monthâ€ in her kindergarten class/ first-grade class. During â€œSky Study Monthâ€ she encouraged her students to look up and observe the sky in its many changing aspects, and, after observation, to report back to her. The teacher asked me if I had any books with a sky theme and when I said, â€œno,â€ she pressed me to write one for her!
This wonderful teacher had discovered that awareness of the sky, simply looking up, was not an activity young children engaged in naturally. Kids could count every ant on the sidewalk, and often did, but they didnâ€™t tend to look up. Young children, she said, operate mainly by observing the world which is directly around them. She went on to share her research into early childhood learning. When children were taught to observe the sky in their daily life, researchers learned, this practice impacted their learning ability. These young children became much more observant and that translated positively to their writing, reading, and comprehension skills.
Twenty years later, while watching a glorious sunrise one morning, I suddenly recalled the words of that now anonymous teacher, and from that kernel of inspiration, my book Blue Sky began to unfold.
- Audrey Wood