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This book started very small, about three feet tall -- the height of my niece Dionne when she asked me to read her a bedtime story -- more than twenty-five years ago. It amazed me that most of the books I found for her back then were just that, books designed to put Dionne and her mind to sleep. They told stories of the good girl she ought to be -- stories of the impossible girl that no girl ever was -- but seldom stories of who she could really be if she felt free enough to imagine...everything.
I wanted a different kind of book for Dionne, one that would wake her up to her possibilities, a party of a book to celebrate who she was and all she could become. Many of my writer, poet, and composer friends wanted the same for the children they loved -- and these wonderfully talented and generous people donated their work to the project we called FREE TO BE...YOU AND ME -- a special new collection of stories, poems and songs that would help girls and boys feel free to be who they are and who they want to be.
As Dionne grew up and learned how BIG her life could be, I realized what children like her needed now was a really GIGANTIC book, roomy enough to contain all the things they had to know about the huge variety of people who cluster together and call themselves "family." The idea was that if you studied up on the folks in your family, chances are you would soon be an expert on how to get along in the big wide world when you grew up. FREE TO BE...A FAMILY looked like a regular-sized book, but deep down inside, it was enormous. There was room in it for all the kinds of families that shelter and nurture children, all the kinds of friends and relations we are to each other, all the different kinds of households we live in and love in.
FREE TO BE...YOU AND ME and FREE TO BE...A FAMILY are like balloons. The more you read them and use them, the more they stretch, the bigger they become, and the more of the world you can see inside them. A lot of kids who are now grown-ups looked back on how their world stretched and grew while they read FREE TO BE...YOU AND ME and FREE TO BE...A FAMILY and they wanted the same big balloon experience for the children they love. So now we've taken stories, songs, and poems from both books and created a SUPER GIGANTIC fun-filled FREE TO BE collection especially for you.
Each story changes with the voice that tells it; each picture is transformed by the eyes that see it. So go ahead, put your own personal stamp on this book. Write your name in big letters in the front. Read it aloud. Act it out. Sing it for all to hear.
Remember, this is a new party of a book. It's being thrown not just by those of us who wrote it, but by those who once read it, the children the grown-ups who love you used to be.
The party is being held in the country called "Us," in the town called "Possibilities," on the street called "Freedom" -- to be, to become, to imagine...everything! The time is now. And you are all invited.
Posted May 28, 2009
My sister and I had this book and the album (actual vinyl) we would read the book and listen to the album every day when we were kids!!! Our mom's best friend Barb gave it to us to keep us busy during the summer, it made us think and we explored our creativity fully because of the stories in it. I am going to buy it and hopefully find the cd for my 9 year old daughter and my grandsons so they will be able to experience the same joy I did when I was a kid!! I highly recommend this book to everyone it still hits the mark on all the subjects it covers. I can still remember all the songs like "A Aligators all around," "It's allright to cry," all the stories, including "Ladies First." And a bevy of others.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 15, 2001
I enjoyed sharing this book with mom and friends as a child, now I love reading it to nieces and giving it as a baby gift. The age range given by barnes and noble is not right, this is a great book for small children.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.