The Three Lucys is a gentle story about how war, relentless and unmerciful, impacts a child’s life. Luli lives in the hills of Lebanon, above the city of Beirut. He loves his home, his school, and his three cats – Lucy the Skinny, Lucy the Fat, and Lucy Lucy – just as children would. A weekend trip to Beirut, however, changes all that. On their way back, rockets fall screaming from the sky – and this bombing continues all month long. By the time Luli and his parents are able to make it back to their home, much of the familiar landscape has changed…and one of his Lucys has vanished.
The beautiful illustrations by Sara Kahn allow us to see what Luli loves about his homeland, and what war can do to the loveliest of landscapes. Luli’s dreams of a time “where there are no more bombings and the world is at peace” echoes those of so many children around the world today, and every day.
My teaching lens for this year is social justice, and one of the cornerstones of my summer work into researching what this would look like and sound like in my classroom was Rhythm and Resistance: Teaching Poetry for Social Justice, edited by Linda Christensen and Dyan Watson.
Presented as a series of lessons, this book is a rich resource of ideas and poems to bring into our classrooms and begin conversations about identity, self, story, and history. Each lesson is prefaced with a “so what?” that encourages us as teachers to think more deeply about what we want to teach our children about community and their roles in preserving democracy and social justice. I loved the variety of poems collected in this book, especially the ones by students. This is an important book, especially for teachers in the middle grades and above.