The Word Collector, by Peter H. Reynolds, is the story of a boy and the love for his very special collection – words. Jerome was inspired to write down words that he heard, saw, and read. He organized his collection into scrapbooks. There were so many books! One day when he slipped and fell, the words were tossed into a jumbled mess. Jerome began to reorganize the words into poems which later became songs. He noticed that words could move people.
My daughter began to discover her first written words at the age of two. The books became her friends, and she would sleep with them like stuffed animals. By age four, she was reading books. She discovered early, like Jerome, that words are powerful. They have the ability to transport, transform, and transition a person to a new way of “thinking, feeling, and dreaming”.
Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, grew up with a speech impediment. She used written word as a form of self-expression and practiced spoken word as a way of developing her own “speech pathology” to overcome her speech difficulties. Gorman was chosen to read an original poem for the inauguration of President Joe Biden. Words can heal.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a voracious reader, masterful orator, and eloquent writer synthesized words into a symphony of thought that united people during the Civil Rights Movement. In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King stated, “This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” Words can unite.
George Washington Carver stated, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom”. Carver, who was born into slavery, later became an instructor and researcher at Tuskegee Institute, a scientist, and an inventor. He used his words to educate people in traditional and non-traditional classroom settings, to pen bulletins and newspaper articles on agricultural innovations, and to craft more than 400 uses for crops such as the “peanut, sweet potato, soybeans, and pecans”. Words can inspire.
Peter Hamilton Reynolds concludes The Word Collector with this quote, “Reach for your own words. Tell the world who you are and how you will make it better”. Looking for ideas to guide your Cloverbuds as they begin their word collections? Check out Cloverbud Reading Adventures. You will find a diverse collection of books and activities that will inspire our youngest 4-H members to find their words as they “think, feel, and dream” the world better.