There are so many treasured children’s books that are classics and staples in the homes of families around the world. At 27-years-old, I can still remember the delight I felt reading books like The Giving Tree or The Velveteen Rabbit and of course of course Corduroy, the story of a teddy bear searching for his lost button, written by Don Freeman in 1968. Today, the popular Corduroy is getting a sequel penned by actress Viola Davis.
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Davis explains that the original book was so important to her growing up because the little girl who befriends Corduroy, Lisa, is African American. Davis goes on to say that this was integral to her development because at the time it was so rare to find a children’s book that featured a character of color. Growing up in an extremely poor household, finding a book that she could identify with was very important to her, and helped to shape her into the role model she is today.
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Viola Davis has won several major awards including Tony awards, BAFTA awards, and most recently an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the 2017 movie Fences. Her book is entitled Corduroy Takes a Bow, and it brings Lisa and the titular Corduroy to the theater where the bear goes off to explore backstage before inevitably ending up on stage himself. The book is written by Davis, illustrated by Jody Wheeler, and is set to be released on September 4th, 2018, coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the original book by Don Freeman.
In a world where diversity can oftentimes be met with anxiety and defensiveness, we should embrace the celebration of differences that Davis and many other talents hope to bestow upon society. Davis goes on to say that a truth she holds important is the fact that when our bodies fade away, all that we have left is the mark and impression left by us on this world. Needless to say, Davis’s book will hopefully be as influential and inspiring to young readers as the original was for her. Perhaps in another fifty years we will see another Viola Davis charm the world citing this as their inspiration!
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