Jayne M. Rose-Vallee
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DLIMH at BASIS Independent Brooklyn

My driver picked me up in Williamsburg, NY – a part of Brooklyn which has drastically transformed the last few years. Our destination . . . Basis Independent Brooklyn School in Red Hook.This is my second visit to this amazing school. I am nervous, apprehensive, excited, fearful among a variety of other emotions racing through my body.

“Will they like my book?”
“Will I find words to convey what a community is?”
“Are my tips for bullying prevention good enough?
“Do I have the physical strength to do this?”
“Will my hair get in my mouth while I’m speaking?”

The numerous questions of doubt mixed in with my emotions could have been a disaster, however, when I walked out of the hotel, I was met with sunshine. Glorious wonderful morning sunshine. I am thankful I saw it.

Sunshine. Clear blue sky. Temperate for NY the end of February. Imaginative spray-painted cyclone fence. Morning traffic. Scaffolding. Rooftop views. Circling airplanes. Still cranes. Muted tones. Brown Brick. Intricate architecture. Bridges. Barren trees. Grey. Water towers. And then . . . water. Statue of Liberty. Shipyards. Playgrounds. Film Crew. Church steeples. Red Hook. Community.

So how did it go?

I had four different presentations. Each time I began to feel my feet beneath my body holding me up, carrying me forward. I sat on the ground with them. I high-fived them. I listened. I think that’s one of the most important things we can do as adults. Listen. Give them the respect and time they need to communicate. The words may come out slowly, or stuttered, or confused, or they may come out clear as a bell.

When doing the presentation on animals alive today who lived with dinosaurs, one kindergarten boy asked why I thought these animals survived the devastating event which wiped out dinosaurs. Six years old and he could formulate that question and ask. It’s a good question. I’ve asked myself this question. No one is quite sure, but many of the animals I discuss live in the water, or come from eggs, which could perhaps have been protected in some way. I was asked to write another book and come back. They want a
book three. Like tomorrow. Oh boy. There was a four-year- old who wanted to invent a time machine and go back and figure out what Spinosaurus liked best from the ocean. They loved the story about nine-year- old Lucas who discovered (by tripping over it in the New Mexico dessert) the skull of a Stegomastodon. His brothers thought it was simply a dead cow. Instead, it was over a million year old cousin to the mammoth and elephant. Cool stuff.

How was the ride home you ask? I can’t remember it. I was exhausted.