Watch Out for Flying Kids: How Two Circuses, Two Countries, and
Nine Kids Confront Conflict and Build Community
by Cynthia Levinson
Peachtree Publishers (August 1, 2015)
Nonfiction * Circus * Performing Arts
Audience: Ages 10 to 14
Indiebound | WorldCat
Author Website | Resources for Teachers
About the book:
Kids accomplish remarkable feats of strength and beauty, as well as work to bring about change in their worlds in this engaging exploration of the world of social circus.
The author of We’ve Got a Job explores the world of youth social circus—a movement that brings kids from different worlds together to perform remarkable acts on a professional level. Levinson follows the participants of two specific circuses that also work together periodically: Circus Harmony, in St. Louis, whose participants are inner-city and suburban kids, and Circus Galilee in Israel, whose participants and Jews and Arabs. As the kids’ relationships evolve over time, the members learn how to overcome assumptions, animosity, and obstacles both physical and personal.
Check out the videos posted by author, Cynthia Levison on YouTube, here and one below:
My thoughts on the book:
Different. Different cultures. Different languages. Different religions. Different skin tones. Cynthia Levinson introduces readers to two very special circuses and the children/teens and staff that embarked on a journey to build connections by identifying their similarities in order to learn from one another. Levinson's newest book, WATCH OUT FOR FLYING KIDS! HOW TWO CIRCUSES, TWO COUNTRIES, AND NINE KIDS CONFRONT CONFLICT AND BUILD COMMUNITY, is extremely relevant for today's social and cultural challenges.
When I received an advanced copy of WATCH OUT FOR FLYING KIDS! from Peachtree Publishers, I was immediately drawn in by the title, subtitle, and cover. First, who isn't interested in the circus? Circuses have a long, colorful, rich history, which fascinates anyone who has ever seen a performance. Second, as an educator, words like "confront conflict" and "build community" are constantly on my mind. When I opened the book, it did not take me long to become totally engrossed in the story of the two circuses, and their performers. Despite the natural ups and downs that come with working with individuals, things like hard work, communication, collaboration, bridging the cultural gap were very real things for both Circus Harmony (St. Louis) and the Galilee Circus in Israel.
Using 120 hours of interview transcripts, and extensive research, Levinson documents what transpired when these two circuses crossed path. I was thrilled not to only read about the successes but to also learn of the many challenges. As I continued to read this book, I wanted to share this with the teachers of students in 5th to 9th grade that I know. The themes and lessons learned through this cross-cultural experience have direct application to classroom learning. This almost prompted me to ask the teachers I know that if they read no other children's nonfiction this year that they read and share this one with their students.
Look for WATCH OUT FOR FLYING KIDS! at your local indie bookstore or community library. Better yet, pick up a copy or two to share with a teacher or teen that you know.
About the author:
Cynthia Levinson holds degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard University and also attended the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. A former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, she is the author of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March. She has also published articles in Appleseeds, Calliope, Cobblestone, Dig, Faces, and Odyssey. She can be found at her website | twitter
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