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Time to Read September 2020

The Rag Coat, writ­ten by Lau­ren A. Mills, was a favourite of mine to read to my class­es at Thanks­giv­ing Time. Our Cana­di­an Thanks­giv­ing is in a cou­ple of weeks, with the hol­i­day south of our bor­der in less than a month’s time. What will Thanks­giv­ing mean to you this year? In the time of this pan­dem­ic, we are to be remind­ed to look for bless­ings, how­ev­er small.

The focus in my class­room in Octo­ber was on being thank­ful what you had and the need to be kind to oth­ers in need. The father’s com­ment in the book that “Peo­ple only need peo­ple, and noth­ing else.” is a valu­able les­son indeed. As Kiwa­ni­ans, we are always in need of increas­ing our mem­ber­ship to help oth­ers less for­tu­nate than ourselves.

The young girl in the sto­ry is called Min­na. Her fam­i­ly couldn’t afford a coat for her but her Papa kept her warm in win­ter with a burlap sack and her Mama’s patch­work quilt wrapped around her. Lit­tle eight- year-old Min­na start­ed school after her father’s pass­ing but she had no coat to wear. Her neigh­bors con­tributed scraps from their fam­i­ly rem­nants to make a patch­work coat, lined with the old sack her father would wrap her in. Her class­mates teased her about her unusu­al coat but soon learned what bits of their his­to­ry were apart of it.

This is a touch­ing sto­ry, ide­al for 7 to 10 years old. I made a mis­take in select­ing The Rag Coat one year as our club’s dona­tion and Readaloud for our local ele­men­tary schools. One Kiwan­ian scold­ed me after vol­un­teer­ing in a class­room, say­ing that he couldn’t get through read­ing the sto­ry to the chil­dren with­out tear­ing up…I took that as high praise!

Hap­py Reading,

Julia Levine