One of the best parts about being a Little Free Library steward is chatting with other LFL stewards. It’s always exciting when someone new joins our communication hub, sharing photos of their freshly painted library, filled with books, ready for people to discover and borrow.
Earlier this month, a steward in Ohio shared news that caught my eye. Sylvia Call was excited to announce that her son’s first book had just published. It is a book of poems, Into the Deep, Deep Brave. What’s unique about this book is that its author, Arthur H. Call, is a three-year old with Hyperlexia.
Sylvia and I began to talk about poetry and Arthur’s book. The poems are filled with humor, but also show profound insight — Arthur is clearly a deep thinker.
I’m thrilled to have Sylvia visiting my blog today, to tell us more about Arthur and share a few samples of his poetry.
Welcome, Sylvia! Tell us the backstory of Arthur’s poetry book.
During the fall and winter of 2016, Arthur (who was almost three) had just started talking for the first time (he also started reading and spelling words that I often had to look up). Arthur is on the autism spectrum and has Hyperlexia which gives him this beautiful gift with words and language.
All through the winter, he would potter about the house making up these neat little poems and reciting them out loud to me. I wrote them all down the moment he said them, and tried to punctuate them based on his pauses and stops. (Many of his poems were hastily scribbled onto the backs of envelopes or along the margins of papers I happened to be grading.)
I didn’t have a plan for his poems at the time, but every now and then I would share one of my favorites on social media. It all sort of snowballed from there, and after talking things through with a phenomenally talented illustrator named Molly McGuire, I thought that perhaps publishing a book of poetry written by a toddler was really the only sensible thing left to do.
After months of collaborating, planning, and dreaming, Arthur’s first book is finally out in the world. What a fun little adventure it’s been.
Thanks for sharing Arthur’s story, Sylvia. I remember first learning about Hyperlexia through some articles by and about author Priscilla Gilman. Here is a link to check out to learn more about Priscilla’s experience with a child with Hyperlexia.
Are you ready for some poetry, readers?
Selections from Into the Deep, Deep Brave
by Arthur H. Call
Shared with permission
I am everything–
I am change.
Into the deep, deep brave.
Strum the banjo
Walking in the snow.
I’ll show you the way
Through the night.
Dance with me
Spinning through the air
The bear stood on the shore
And roared at the sea.
Free from his cage
As a teacher of young writers, I applaud Sylvia for publishing Arthur’s poetry. Today, I shared Into the Deep, Deep Brave with my friend Matthew Winner, a school librarian and kidlit podcaster. The book — and Arthur’s words — prompted a fascinating conversation about children, their insights into the world around them, and how they use language for meaning and play.
Congratulations to Arthur!