As the mother of a 3- and 6-year-old, I’ve shown my kids much of our beloved city. I’ve also tried to explain the whole “neighborhoods” concept (“You see, Cincinnati is a great big area that’s made up of lots of little areas called neighborhoods, like Hyde Park, Avondale, Northside…”). Then there’s the whole Ohio River thing (“Ohio is on one side of the river, Kentucky is on the other — that’s right, they’re DIFFERENT STATES!”).
But for all the books stacked on their shelves (and scattered throughout our house), we didn’t have a single one about Cincinnati.
That is, until we had the pleasure a few weeks ago of attending a book signing at blue manatee children’s bookstore and decafe for Cincinnati – Our City, Our Story, a guided tour of greater Cincinnati, and its people, places, and history. This amazing children’s book was written by Louise Borden and illustrated by some very talented young artists, who attended the signing and were available for photo opps.
My 6-year-old Cassie first read the book with me in the decafe over cookies and milk, right after we bought the book in the bookstore. She carefully paged through Cincinnati – Our City, Our Story, recognizing local landmarks we’ve seen before and discussing the artwork. “Wow, this one was done by a 6-year-old, Mom!” she said gleefully.
After reading the book, she enthusiastically lined up to get autographs and pictures with the author and the children who illustrated the book. You would’ve thought we were on the red carpet for a major Hollywood premiere!
While Cassie got her autographs, I learned more about how the book came about. Developed by the Cincinnati Storyteller’s Project, a sub-group of the volunteers of C-Change Class 7, the book was created from a desire to evoke civic pride and family activity in the City of Cincinnati while promoting child literacy in the community. What better way to tell Cincinnati’s story than through the eyes of local children, right? The end project was Cincinnati – Our City, Our Story.