Elmira Educator Publishes Children's Book Adapted from Classroom Lesson
ELMIRA, NY (WENY) -- An Elmira educator has turned a classroom lesson into a published children's book.
Jessica Janowsky said about four years ago, she developed the lesson as part of some social-emotional learning work she was doing with her students.
"The lesson was, I had some students, this was a few years ago. They were having some trouble letting things go, that had happened months and months and months past. And at that time I was teaching yoga and mindfulness as part of a pilot program on social emotional learning (SEL). And every time they came to see me, came into my space to work on being mindful, they kept bringing up these issues that happened months [in the past]. And I was like 'you guys, you need to let this go, you need to let this go.' So I decided they really needed some lessons on forgiveness and working together," Janowsky said.
She said she created a story that aimed to show students that they can look past their differences, forgive each other and work together in a way that benefits both sides. The students got involved in developing the lesson's, using their own imaginations to build out the story and how it would look.
Janowsky said the idea to turn the lesson into a children's story became more of a serious thought during 2020, due to all of the civil unrest the country was dealing with. She felt the theme of the book tied into the divisiveness the nation was going through, and the lesson was more important than ever.
The book is focused on two neighboring communities that feel as though they are more important than the other, and do not get along. The earth, upset with the warring communities, creates a mountain in between the two to separate them. After decades of isolation from each other, the two communities realize the other has resources the other needs. They begin to share resources, and thrive by working together.
She sent her book into a publisher, and worked with an illustrator to create "A Mountain's Wisdom: The Slate and the Granite." It was published in 2022, and is on sale now.
Jessica will be holding a book signing event at Barnes and Noble in Consumer Square Plaza on County Route 64 in Big Flats from 11AM - 1PM on Saturday, August 6th. If time permits, Jessica will also read her story aloud to visitors.