Call of the Wind

In March, a great series of wind storms crashed through our town, knocking down trees and power lines.  We’re accustomed to windy days and we know come late fall until May, power outages are something to prepare for.  We have an abundance of candles, matches, and other needful things.  After a day without lights, refrigeration, or wifi, we become humbled.

Spring can bring wind storms to many places, and to honor the wind’s power in our lives, I’ve compiled a short list of children’s picture books on the subject.

Mirandy and Brother Wind by Patricia McKissack – Mirandy wants to dance with Brother Wind at her first cakewalk. Her family and neighbors give her different ideas for trapping Brother Wind, for they say if she can trap him, he’ll grant her wish. Her friend, Ezel, a boy known for his clumsiness laughs at her attempts. When the cakewalk happens, everyone is in for a surprise. Excellent storytelling, lovely artwork, and true regional accents bring this folk tale to life.

Wind Child by Shirley Rousseau Murphy – The East Wind falls in love with a mortal woman, and together they make a child in a house made of reeds and clouds. When his wife dies, the East Wind brings their baby to a mortal woman to raise and care for. Resshie, named for the sound her father makes when blowing through the trees, grows to be a weaver of fine fabrics, never knowing who her father is. Too odd to befriend or marry, Resshie tries to weave her dreams to life. What this story lacks in the flow of writing it makes up for with the story itself and exquisite art. As I read the clunky text (it really needs a better editor), I retold it in my head as an animated film with the patterns of her fabric moving in the background.  

Story of the Wind Children by Sibylle von Olfers – A young boy named George is playing with a toy boa when the wind stops. A wind sprite comes to play, and together they go on an adventure. Her art has been described as akin to that of Beatrix Potter, and this story like others in the series anthropomorphizes natural forces. The story is full of whimsy, not heavy on substance, but reminds me of a child’s daydream. I’m looking forward to trying more of her books in the future, though my library seems bereft of her work.

When the Wind Stops by Charlotte Zolotow – A boy asks why the wind stops, and his mother explains it doesn’t — it simply moves to another part of the world, much like the sun, rain, etc. She tells of unending cycles of nature, a allegory for teaching about life cycles, and a contemplative introduction to natural sciences and pagan spirituality.

Whirlwind is a Spirit Dancing by Natalia Belting – Kept last in the list, this book contains the translated poetic tales of multiple Native American nations. While not all are about the winds of the world (there are three or four), they all tell stories about nature, weather, and the seasons. Each poem clearly shows both the originating tribe and its location in the Americas. Lovely illustrations complement the prose.

Bonus: For adolescents, I wish to turn you toward the Fables series by Bill Willingham, wherein a set of wind children are born to two famous fable characters.  The entire series is excellent, weaving classic fairy tales into contemporary urban life, but these children are especially remarkable for being the grandchildren of the North Wind.  They appear somewhere around volume 17 of the series.  

Though the links in this post lead to Amazon listings, please look for these titles through Barnes & Noble during their Teacher Appreciation Days.  All teachers (homeschool educators with a Declaration of Intent are included) get 25% all books and many other items through April 17th!

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