Little Flower, the talented 10-year-old artist, radiates in her vibrant red dress, adorned with a large yellow flower in her hair. Her drawings possess a mesmerizing quality, coming to life with distinctiveness and allure. Being truly unique herself, Little Flower embraces her individuality and assumes the responsibility of defending others who share their own exceptional qualities. This dedication led her to establish the “Different Deserves Special Club” at her school, where she advocates for the rights of those who stand out. However, her unwavering passion for defending others sometimes lands her in trouble.
Ever since she was young, Little Flower discovered her passion for painting flowers when her mother gifted her a book that delved into the meanings behind these floral creations. Each flower she painted held personal significance, reflecting important events in her own life. The inspiration for her artistic identity and her affinity for flowers can be attributed, in part, to the renowned Victorian artist Kate Greenaway and her captivating 19th-century picture book, “The Language of Flowers.” Greenaway’s enchanting artwork beautifully captured everyday moments from the Regency era, accompanied by Victorian interpretations of over 200 plant species.
The enchanting tale of Little Flower unfolds within the pages of “The Different Deserves Special Club,” a 250-page chapter book accompanied by animated drawing videos. This narrative masterfully weaves together various themes, encompassing science, mathematics, the tumultuous Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the significance of diversity, and the detrimental impact of bullying.
Throughout the story, each flower holds symbolic meaning, showcased in three captivating videos from the book: the Almond Flower representing hope, the Black Poplar Flower symbolizing courage, and the Mugwort Flower signifying happiness. These flower interpretations, influenced by Greenaway’s artistic legacy, seamlessly intertwine with Little Flower’s personal experiences, adding depth and resonance to her journey.
As Little Flower grows up amidst the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, she grapples with the lack of understanding from adults who struggle to explain its complexities in a manner suitable for a 10-year-old. Undeterred, she interprets the movement through her youthful perspective, driven by pure intentions to effect positive change. However, her passionate endeavors often lead her into significant trouble. As she matures and gains a deeper understanding of the world around her, Little Flower evolves, learning to implement her ideas in more effective and nuanced ways.
By: Takeda LeGrand, Ed.D, EJD
The Little Flower Different Deserves Special Club book details the experiences of a young girl growing up in the segregated south amidst the turmoil of the Civil Rights Era. The heroine, Little Flower, finds herself navigating the maze of life recognizing inequality and leading the fight for change while dealing with the struggles of young teens. The story balances the commonalities of the human experience growing up transitioning from youth to adolescence and integrates historical context to show how the times and culture impact everyday life. The overall goal of the series is to instill a sense of pride in the heritage of minorities, encourage a sense of community and respect for all individuals, and empower young adults to be agents of positive change.
The Little Flower Different Deserves Special Club book, Reader Response Journal, and three Curriculum Development Guides comprise an educational series that affords educators with an array of opportunities to engage students in meaningful, authentic, discussion and activities. Students between the ages of 8-12 should be able to easily understand the reading and content while drawing diverse connections. The series has the ability to cross-curricular areas in English/Language Arts and Social Studies and draw parallels to current affairs. Efforts of school culture can also be addressed within this context in efforts to make schools an inclusive community. Likewise, within the lens of literature, the series has solid progression and storylines that lend itself to teacher a number of literary concepts and devices.
Many limit the purpose of education to content knowledge in core academic areas such as reading, mathematics, science, and social studies or exposure to the arts and technologies. Yet in order to produce well-rounded, productive, and competent citizens, educators must teach skills beyond academic content. This underlying curriculum helps students to develop morals, manners, civic and social consciousness, and the skills that promote emotional and mental wellbeing. Early in the series, the author introduces readers to a character that is developing those characteristics and throughout the series, learns how to apply an array of good character traits in different situations. Although she does not always understand how to respond appropriately, the dialogue and reflection that the author takes the characters through to arrive at what is appropriate models reflection and self-improvement at a level young readers can understand and learn similar strategies.
A central message of the series concerns empowerment. High emphasis is placed on theimportance of education in examples from the author’s life demonstrated through the actions of the main character’s family. This is furthermore reinforced through the church, a central hub of the character’s community, where awareness, equality, and responsibility are highlighted through historical accounts of prominent figures in the African American community. The message of education as a tool to empower and improve is clear. The series also seeks to provide young minority females with a sense of empowerment. Little Flower’s resiliency, tenacity, ambition and drive reflect a can do attitude and positive self-image.
Young readers will find the story of Little Flower appealing. Dealing with issues that young readers are experiencing in schools today such as bullying, finding and maintaining friends, peer pressure, balance of school and home, young readers should easily identify with the heroine as she begins her transition in life. Little Flower encourages young readers to not only find and embrace their own uniqueness as they face life’s challenges but also maintain a positive self- image.
– Mrs. Jonny L. Trotti, Retired School Librarian“I love Little Flower! I’m trying to remember If I’ve ever felt this strongly, this quickly about a character. She has taken me back to my fifth grade year.. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed just looking at Bailey Hines! ‘Funny how people just appreciate flowers and don’t care about size, shape, color or anything else about them. People care about that stuff though, when it comes to other people. “There on the second page Little Flower speaks the truth with insights that no ten year old should have to recognize. For me, she set the hook and I could hardly wait to find out how she handled this wisdom. The conversational tone of this first person narrative leaves me feeling that a friend has been periodically updating me on her life. The author has taught important life lessons in a style that is so appealing it takes a while to realize that is exactly what has happened. Closing the cover of the book leaves me wanting more.. Wonder where I could find Little Flower’s phone number?”
The Little Flower Different Deserves Special Club book is a remarkable compilation that delves into the cultural and historical experiences of a young girl growing up in the segregated South during the challenging era of the Civil Rights Movement. Through the eyes of the courageous protagonist, Little Flower, readers embark on a journey through her life, witnessing her encounters with inequity and her leadership in the fight for change. This engaging narrative explores themes of equality, equity, diversity, and inclusion from a real-world perspective, offering valuable insights for readers of all ages.
The Reader Response Journal serves as a space for readers of “The Little Flower Different Deserves Special Club” to record their thoughts, reflections, and personal perspectives. This journal encourages students to establish connections with the text, prompting them to question, analyze, relate, respond, and interpret the information presented. By utilizing the Reader Response Journal, readers gain a deeper understanding of the book’s themes and develop critical thinking and analytical skills.
The Curriculum Development Guide offers comprehensive support for educators, providing fully developed instructional units aligned with various educational standards. These units include lesson plans, formative and summative assessments, and instructional activities aligned with the WIDA English Language Learner Standards, American School Counselor Association Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success, Society of Health and Physical Education Health Standards, and Common Core English Language Arts Standards. Each lesson plan caters to diverse learners, offering enrichment opportunities for advanced students and remediation strategies for those in need of additional support. This guide serves as a valuable resource, offering educators a wide range of practical activities, materials, assessments, and rubrics to enhance student literacy and promote rigorous, relevant, and reflective instruction.
The Little Flower Education Team:
*Richard W. Griffin, Ph.D., P.G.
*Florita Bell Griffin, M.U.P., Ph.D.
*Asa L. Bell, Jr.,JD., MBA, MA
*Ebony Griffin, M.S.
*Leon Gatewood and HOLLA! Community Development Corp.
*Karen Tripp, JD.
*Major General Barrye L. Price, Ph.D., U.S. Army Retired
*Takeda LeGrand, Ed.D., EJD
*Deidra Murphy Steed, M.ED., NBCT
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