Today I spent the day sitting by the river and in the silence of my in-laws home in the mountains and just sat down and read Lions and Liars by Kate Beasley. The synopsis of the story places Frederick as the flea on the butt of an antelope when being described by his best friend as the role he fills in society. Circumstances lead to Frederick getting lost and mistaken for another boy at a camp to build character in young boys that may have lost their way. It is a great story that displays so beautifully the dangers of labels and being defined by our mistakes rather than who we really are.
So many issues come from judgments and in the classroom, students are marginalized daily by the judgments made about them based many times on a single action. I am not going to be giving away any spoilers because I really want everyone to read the book but one section where a boy from the camp is reflecting really stood out to me.
But then, after this one thing, which I didn’t even do, it was like everyone forgot I was this smart, good kid and all they thought about me was that I was the kid that broke Rich’s robot…I figured everyone already thinks I am bad, why try to be good?
The power of a label can change a student in a single moment and yet… we still do it. We start the year and ask for the files on past students, we get the down low from our co-workers and allow our opinions to be formed before we even meet our students. How many times have we been guilty of saying this student is trouble or this student is low?
We create a self-fulfilling prophecy when students discover the labels they carry. This beautiful story Lions and Liars gives us an opportunity to look at how we can come back, how through surrounding ourselves with people that build us up, that remind us that we are not the labels that have been attached to us we can overcome.
I plan to open the year with this as a read aloud, not only because of the message but the characters are funny, relatable and heartwarming. This has been more of a book commercial post but I really love this book and think the message is one all students (and teachers) need to hear. Go BUY this book here