In this hilarious video, George Costanza–who has just quit his job–talks about what he enjoys and the related jobs he would like to pursue. He finally decides that he should be a talk show host, and wonders how to do that.
Of course, becoming a talk show host as an adult would be much harder than working towards it your whole life, as Oprah did.
In Oprah, The Little Speaker, Carole Boston Weatherford describes Oprah’s life as a young girl and the ways she began preparing for her later life by speaking publicly in her church, which placed her in much better stead for becoming a talk show host than George Costanza!
In Reading Wellness, we argue that developing “college and career readiness” should include helping students discover the things they love to do and the careers that will give them opportunities to spend their time practicing their passions. We describe the “Heart, Head, Hands, and Feet Lesson (HHHF),” in which we read picture book biographies about people who began pursuing their interests as children and went on to make tremendous contributions to the world by continuing to explore these passions. Using the HHHF graphic organizer, we closely read and breakdown these biographies and then let students complete individual HHHF graphic organizers. Click here for a link to the lesson and the graphic organizer. Also, you can access our growing list of HHHF books in this Google document.
To make our list, a HHHF biography has to meet the following criteria:
- It has to begin in the subject’s childhood.
- It has to describe the childhood passions and interests of the subject.
- It has to connect the childhood interests to the subject’s work/life as an adult.
- It has to be a picture book, because we read these in one sitting (even in middle and high school).
- It has to be beautifully written and illustrated.
With the help of Booksource, we’ve been working to include more girls in our collection of titles. In addition to the aforementioned picture book about Oprah, here are a few of our new favorite titles about girls who changed (or are changing) the world.
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown
Melba Loretta Liston fell in love with jazz as a young child and taught herself to play the trombone at seven. Her talent, drive, and passion brought her opportunities to play with jazz greats all over the world, as she took on race and gender barriers of the 1940s.
Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper by Ann Malaspina
The first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal, Alice Coachman began jumping as a young child and didn’t stop until she won the Olympics. This story of energy, passion, and persistence powerfully illustrates what can happen when we help children pursue what they love.
Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell
From the time she was a young girl, Elizabeth Blackwell wanted to be a doctor, but in the 1930s there were none. Nonetheless, she relentlessly pushed through barriers that prevented women from studying medicine and became the first woman doctor.
This month, we are sharing the HHHF lesson and LOTS of HHHF biographies at the NCTE WLU Literacies for All Conference in Atlanta and at ILA. BookSource and the publishers they represent have graciously provided us with many HHHF biographies to give away. Please join us as we redefine “college and career readiness” and give you tools that will inspire students to read and write as a path towards spending their lives doing the things they love. We would love to connect with you in Atlanta and St. Louis!