Each month, the Chancellor selects a children’s book that she feels is inspirational and informative for the students, parents, and staff members who make up the City’s public schools. For past book selections, review the “Book of the Month” category right here on The Morning Bell.
Leave Me Alone!
By Vera Brosgol
(Roaring Brook Press, 2016)
January’s Book of the Month, Leave Me Alone, is the perfect allegory for the distractions we experience daily. As the book begins, an old woman from a small house inside of a small village needs to begin her winter knitting. Unfortunately, her 30 grandchildren will not give her a moment’s peace. At the end of her rope, she packs her things in a big sack, shouts, “LEAVE ME ALONE,” and hits the road. Seeking quiet, the woman travels through a forest, up a mountain, and even the moon. Her quest seems impossible, though, as bears, goats, and little moon-men get in her way. Suddenly, she manages to escape it all and find her way through a wormhole. As if that is not crazy enough, what happens next may surprise you further.
This entertaining book illustrates how hard it can be to get things done when distracted. Unfortunately, unlike the annoyed grandmother of this story, we cannot vanish through wormholes. Instead, we must find ways of dealing with our distractions to stay on top of everything in our lives. This can be quite exhausting, as we often feel obligated to respond to every demand on our time, 7 days a week.
Yet, even master multitaskers must seek solitude on occasion. To think and complete critical tasks, we must carve out time in which we can be alone. We should make it clear to our peers and family members that there are times when they should not distract us. Likewise, we should be sensitive to others and know when to push them and when to leave them alone. This is especially key for our children; they may need time on their own, too.
This book also shows us that needing an occasional retreat does not make us anti-social. Taking a time-out once in a while helps many of us to stay on task and complete our work in a calm and efficient manner.
Like the old woman in this book, let us remember the value of taking occasional breaks. Let us hope, though, that we do not encounter any bears that want to eat us. After all, those sweaters will not knit themselves!