A few weeks ago, my kids and I visited the Indianapolis Children's Museum to check out the new LEGO exhibit. In my 9-year-old son's words, "It was awesome!" While there we also experienced another "awesome" thing -- an extremely innovative use of children's literature. The museum's plantetarium featured a show entitled Follow the Drinking Gourd, based on the children's book by Jeanette Winter. In her book, Winter illustrated the words to a folk song that was used to show slaves the way to the Underground Railroad and eventually, to freedom. The slaves would look for the Big Dipper, aka The Drinking Gourd, in the night sky to guide them north to Canada.
After viewing the program, my kids and I were inspired to learn more about the Underground Railroad and the constellations. What a great way to use children's literature to educate and spur a love of learning!