If you haven’t yet met Clementine, you really should. She’s a fabulous 3rd grader full of vim & vigor. I think a lot of people would read Clementine and think, “Oh, that kids needs some meds.” She can’t focus, she’s always in trouble, and she doesn’t always think things through. But, I don’t think it’s ADHD, I think it’s a part of her giftedness. And it’s an element of giftedness that a lot of kids (and adults) struggle with, especially because so few people understand them.
I appreciated what the author, Sara Pennypacker, did with the ever popular command, “Pay attention!” As Clementine explains, she is paying attention. She’s just paying attention to totally different things, things which interest her and are relevant to her. That is so common with gifted learners. As educators, we expect students to hang on to our every word, to want to learn what we are teaching. But the reality is, for gifted kids, that’s not always the case. So many times a gifted learner already knows what we are “teaching” them. And in the case of Clementine, she has so many other thoughts and ideas running through her brain, she doesn’t see the relevance of what someone else thinks is important.
Clementine definitely has creative problem solving skills. Whether she’s trying to fix a hairy situation with her best friend or getting the pigeons on her apartment building to roost elsewhere, Clementine takes the initiative and discovers unconventional solutions for her problems.
This third grader also has a unique sense of perspective. She’s a little upset with her parents. After all, she is named after a fruit, while her little brother has a normal, non-food name. I don’t think we ever learn the brother’s name because every time she references him, she calls him by a vegetable. (I think my favorite name was rutabaga.) Another interesting example of her sense of perspective is how she views herself in comparison to her baby brother. He’s the “easy one” and she’s the “hard one.” And when she overhears her parents having a conversation about how one is enough, she just knows they’ve decided to get rid of the “hard one.” What an great reminder for us that perspective is powerful.
I’m so glad to see that there is more than one Clementine book. I listened to the audio version and it made for a fabulous commute to work for a couple of days. I’ll definitely be picking up the others from my public library on my next visit. I hope you’ll give Clementine a chance, too. She will definitely bring a smile to your day.
Click here to see a book trailer.