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Paying Attention

Tomie dePaola, the popular author of hundreds of children’s books, died recently.

His works were featured in my elementary classroom throughout my career. He reminded teachers to never talk down to children, to speak to them in a natural voice and not to shy away from difficult social subjects. His thoughtful and beautiful illustrations are filled with details that encourage children to look deeply at them. Indeed, Tomie dePaola makes a perfect at-home author study for children of diverse ages. The whole family, including adults, can enjoy these stories together.

“Strega Nona”, the story of a “grandmother witch” and her magic pasta pot, is his most beloved book. The character of Big Anthony, who did not pay attention, was dePaola’s cautionary tale for children. Big Anthony clamors for the praise of the crowd without thinking about the calamity his actions will cause. It is only the quiet, steady wisdom of Strega Nona that averts disaster.

May we be Strega Nonas in these difficult times, and strive to “pay attention”.

Strega Nona, which means “grandmother witch” in Italian, is a wise old women who has served her village will for many years. Hard-working and attentive, she would never forget the magic that would stop her pasta pot from boiling over.
Big Anthony does NOT pay attention. He forgets (or never hears) the magic that will stop the pasta from spreading all over the town, risking all those around him.

About the author jmankowsky

I live in Central Massachusetts in the United States--a wonderful area for nature, art and culture. Using a compact camera, I celebrate daily life found here in a variety of local landscapes throughout the changing seasons.

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for introducing me to Tomie dePaola, Julie. Sadly, I had not heard of him before. Once our library reopens, I will take a look at some of his books.
    And I assume you had one particular person in mind when you pointed out Anthony’s shortcoming?! 🙂

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    1. Hmmm….There is surely one “Big Anthony” that is hard to miss, isn’t there? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. All strength to all the wise Strega Nonas of the world. May the Big Anthony’s learn to pay attention.

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    1. If only…. we must keep being hopeful! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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