Blogger Angela Reynolds

What’s the Big Idea?

Want to gather your community for stories, art, and food? Looking for a way to make family literacy a part of daily life? We are trying to do just that with a series we are calling Big Ideas.

At each session, families are invited to share a picture book and story discussion, work on an art project, and enjoy a light meal at the “community feast”. We have a grant to do five sessions, once a month from May through September.

Big Ideas celebrates our identity & diversity by facilitating experiences incorporating arts & crafts, music, and food from different cultural groups in our region of Nova Scotia, including Acadian, Mi’kmaq, African Nova Scotian, and European descent. The series will include reading & discussion of culturally diverse books. Big Ideas hopes to build a cultural legacy by developing a sense of pride and optimism about Nova Scotia’s future through story sharing, multi-generational conversation, sharing of food, and relationship building.  As a culminating activity we will create a large scale art piece to represent the learning and sharing that occurred during the program.
girl paints on rock
So far we’ve held two of our events. The last one, just a few weeks ago, was on one of the first warm sunny days we’ve had this summer, and so we got a smaller turnout than we hoped. But after sharing the book “The People of the Sea” by Donald Uluadluak, we took a walk down to the beach nearby. As I stood with my feet in the cold water, watching waves roll in, a five-year old boy came up to me. He took my hand, and said, “Do you see that out in the water? I think it is a woman. Do you see her? “  We had a long conversation about what might be out there, in the sea.

This moment made me realize that our programs are not all about numbers. Yes, it would be nice to have more people show up. But that day, the book we shared and that walk to the beach made that story come alive for this little guy. That’s one of our goals, to make stories relevant and get kids thinking about “big ideas”. It may seem like a small win, but I like to think that this boy will remember that story for a long time, and to me, that’s a big win.


  1. AnnMarie Hurtado

    It sounds like a beautiful program! And you’re using the natural beauty of your environment too. I would be interested to see how it all comes out. What are some of the cultural groups you are bringing together in Nova Scotia?

  2. Kelly Doolittle

    I love this idea and would like to try it! I’m wondering how you selected the books – it sounds as if the families were to select the books? If that’s the case, how did you get families to sign on to the project? If that’s not the case, I would be comfortable selecting some potential books with help from the communities we’d be highlighting, but I’m interested in the beginning processes of this program – selection of books, how you got the word out – things like that. Thank you!

  3. Gail Brown

    What a WONDERFUL idea! I am going to use some of the suggestions to create a similar program at my Library. Thanks for sharing and thanks to those who developed this fabulous program.

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