Breadcrumbs Best Book: The Whisper, written + illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
“Never underestimate the creative intelligence of a child.”
Pamela Zagarenski’s The Whisper is a Montessori-must! This book, which is in part based upon the Aesop’s Fable - The Fox and the Grapes - is an invitation for readers young and old to ignite their imagination and creativity. Pamela writes that “...what I honestly wish for the children and adults looking at my paintings is the chance to imagine the stories… for themselves.” Pamela Zagarenski’s enchanting, layered illustrations afford the number one Montessori ingredient to encourage the flowering of a child’s natural gifts: a “pleasant environment in which the children... are left pretty much to their own resources”! *
The story begins with a young girl who discovers a “magical book of stories”. Her teacher loans her the book for an evening. On her way home from school the words mysteriously slip from the book leaving her to concoct tales of her own. Inspired by a “whisper”, the young girl is encouraged to imagine! While the words come haltingly at first, she quickly finds that with quiet focus and practice the words begin to flow… grow into sentences... and ultimately become stories born of her own imagination.
The “whisper” itself mirrors an essential Breadcrumbs ingredient: attunement to the “voice of the heart!" Something we all have access to, when we take time to focus, breathe, slow down, and listen.
We are all storytellers at heart. Just 200 years ago only 12% of the world’s population was literate. While over 90% of the world’s population is literate today, you and the little ones in your midst will find yourselves captivated by Pamela Zagarenski’s own “magical book of stories” and pulled by your storytelling roots to revisit The Whisper again and again.
* Montessori, Maria (1965). The Secret of Childhood, Ballantine Books, New York, NY, p. 137.