Many of you know that I authored a study guide and maps for teaching geography and history using the well-loved Holling Clancy Holling classics Paddle-to-the-Sea, Tree-in-the-Trail, Seabird and Minn of the Mississippi. My friend and former professor, Anita Silvey, has written a delightful biography of Holling Clancy Holling in honor of his birthday, today August 2. I think Holling’s books will be more dear to you than ever after reading Anita’s lovely tribute to Holling on her Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac, which you can access here. I highly recommend subscribing to her blog for those who are as enamored with children’s books as I am, and are always eager to learn more!
What Holling Clancy Holling seemed to understand intuitively is how children learn. Children learn when their senses are completely absorbed, when they are alive and intrigued. By perfecting a beautifully crafted story, infusing it with important facts (things children need to know about history, science and geography) and then bringing it fully to life in gorgeous art, the minds of children are respected, nurtured and engaged. This is the gift that Holling Clancy Holling gave to us and to the world through his work. And Holling’s approach, I think, is what Sir Ken Robinson makes an appeal for in his book Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative. I am just about half way through this, and will post some more when I’ve finished his intriguing and inspiring book! In the meantime, pick up one of Holling’s classic works, sit down with a son or daughter and enter the beautifully crafted world of Paddle-to-the Sea, Seabird, Tree-in-the-Trail or Minn! You’ll be happy you did!