Do you want to teach your child about the history of Notre Dame?
This picture book, The Girl and the Cathedral The Story of Notre Dame De Paris published by Bushel & Peck Books is a beautifully illustrated book about the story of Notre Dome with interwoven valuable lessons. The book written by Nicolas Jeter and illustrated by Sara Ugolotti is a work of art and can be read several times to young readers with different embedded lessons. For example, when you first read this story, a parent can focus on the facts about the story of Notre Dame. Another reading can target the abstract meaning of the “flower” and what it means for the young girl to be a “gardener”. There is a lot of symbolism in this book that can be interpreted in a variety of different ways.
When you first open the book, the reader will learn about the architecture of Notre Dame with specific details about each section. Then the story begins! On an island in Seine, a little girl plants a garden of flowers. The “flowers” aren’t really flowers and represent “the people of paris with the cathedral as its guardian”. As the book continues, the reader will learn about the best of times and worst of times. However, through it all, the Notre Dame keeps hope bright.
Language and Learning Lessons
The Girl and the Cathedral is both an educational and uplifting story. When reading the book, I loved how the author and illustrator seamlessly integrated important lessons about hope, equality and community. On this page below, the author describes the young gardener planting flowers to represent Equality, Liberty and Fraternity. Together, this makes the community grow and thrive.
As you are reading the book to your child, stop to define and describe words. Discuss what a “flower” means to the girl. Compare and contrast how Paris might be different from where you live. I think one of the best ways to learn about Paris is to show videos of what the cathedral looked like via a video and/or photographs online.
Ask your child, “If you were the young girl, what would you grow in your garden?” This book highlights darkness and lightness with regard to “good” and “bad”. The fire that burned down the cathedral was devastating but the people didn’t lose hope in rebuilding it.
In our current pandemic, I think this story can be a wonderful way in discussing hope during a difficult time. It’s hard to see the lightness in a dark situation but there are often many silver linings. I think talking about silver linings help build hope and gratitude for children.
To learn more about this book, check out the funded kickstarter page here.
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