RedRover is excited to announce the addition of the book Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me, written by Eloise Greenfield and illustrated by Ehsan Abdollahi, to the RedRover Readers program curriculum. Our first program book written by an African-American author, Thinker tells the story of Jace and his dog in a series of poems that explore identity, social awareness, and emotions, accompanied by bright, colorful illustrations.
Jace and his dog Thinker like to write and recite poetry. Jace wants to make sure Thinker keeps quiet and just does normal dog things like running and barking. When Jace brings Thinker to school for “Pets’ Day at School,” Thinker is worried Jace will be embarrassed by him… but they both learn to embrace who they are and what makes them happy: being thinkers and poets.
Author Eloise Greenfield is the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Book Award, Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and a nominee for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Children’s. She was also the 2018 recipient of the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement and the 1997 Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children from the National Council of Teachers of English, among many other recognitions.
Born in Parmele, North Carolina on May 17, 1929, Ms. Greenfield loved music, movies, and books and discovered her love for writing at a young age. She recognized there were far too few children’s books written by and positively/realistically depicting African Americans. Her first poem was published in the Hartford Times in 1962, and her first book was published in 1972. She says her mission is twofold: to contribute to the development of a large body of African American literature for children and to continue to fill her life with the joy of creating with words. (1)
“…I decided to make that my mission,” said Greenfield. “I wanted my books to enable black children to realize how beautiful and smart they are. I wanted to write books that inspired and uplifted them, that made them laugh and be happy.” (2)
Now, Greenfield has stated that her family and her efforts to fight racism are the two most important concerns in her life (2). She continues to write, speak at conferences, and spend time with her grandchildren.
Behind the Scenes, RedRover Readers
Leading with Empathy: Behind the Scenes with Tara
New RedRover Readers Program Book – Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me
Bringing empathy home
Bringing social and emotional learning to Stockton Unified School District