Barnyard Banter at Simpson Academy

by Erin Brown

​Literature for All of Us is delighted to continue its long-term partnership with Simpson Academy for Young Women, the only high school in Chicago specifically for pregnant and parenting teens.

This year we are facilitating six groups at Simpson, and are fortunate to be working with the entire school. Once per month our discussions focus on literature for the students themselves, such as the poetry of Maya Angelou and Naomi Shihab Nye. We also meet with them monthly for our EPIC program, which incorporates discussion of quality children’s literature with broader themes of attachment, early literacy, and the joys and challenges of parenting.

This year, we launched our EPIC program at Simpson with the delightful board book “Barnyard Banter,” written and illustrated by Denise Fleming. Not only did book group that day include many lively (and hilarious) enactments of barnyard animals, we also had space to discuss strategies for inspiring in children a love of books and language, a spirit of play, and trust in the adults around them.

Students were able to get silly with one another, but also speak candidly about the challenges they face as young parents. If you are not yet familiar with “Barnyard Banter,” and need some more cheeping, mooing, and crowing in your life, we highly recommend it!