Radiant Routine

Steptoe 3.jpg

Five-year-old Owen can define a routine for you. 

Since I began keeping him in the afternoons after his morning in preschool when his mother went back to work, we have followed the routine they had already established – a thirty-minute video, read a book (or two), an hour of quiet time and then free time for play or yard work.  Weirdly, yard work is his favorite.

We make regular library trips to supplement the selections I already own with both of us choosing a few picture books to read. I had selected Javaka Steptoe’s The Radiant Child as one of my choices, knowing that the writer/artist would be presenting at the Kaigler Children’s Book Festival in April. As we read, Owen quickly became more absorbed with the illustrations than with the story. As a kid who likes to cut and paste himself, he loved finding the lines in the drawings that indicated scissors and glue. 

Silence pervaded his quiet time, and I left him alone, having long held the theory that one does not interrupt a peaceful child. When the timer jingled the end of this segment of his routine, he had something to show me – “just like the pictures in the book.”

Steptoe 1.jpg

He had drawn segments on his paper with lines to represent the scissor cuts, colored in the spaces similar to the elements of Steptoe’s drawings, and pasted collage stickers randomly over the whole. “Just like the ones in the book,” he said. 

I’ll leave you to judge from the two pictures of the book spread and his imitation how close he came. I could only think that a bit of creativity could combine two “R” words into a Radiant Routine. And in case, you are wondering, I definitely recommend the picture book for any young readers you may know. And it is just possible that Owen might wind up with his own signed copy when I attend the book festival in April.