Everyone is like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle

The Jigsaw Puzzle King Blog

Everyone is like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

I’ve been a Montessori teacher (of 9 - 12 year olds) for about twenty-five years. For those who know nothing of the Montessori approach — well, I’m sorry, I won’t explain it here, except to say that we like to introduce new ideas with what we call a great story. The Great Story of Language or the Great Story of Math are stories that help inspire children to wonder and to appreciate humanity’s greatest accomplishments. 

My first children’s novel began as the Great Story of Archaeology, one that I’d written for my class when I wanted to teach a unit on archaeology. Eventually that book became Reading the Bones, the first in a four-part series published by Dundurn. 

As a teacher, it’s hard for me to separate my love for teaching from my love of writing. In fact, as I write I think about the students in my class and imagine them reading one of my books. What might they learn from it? With my Reading the Bones series there’s lots to learn about archaeology, but there’s also a lot to learn about honesty, respect, humility and selflessness — all virtues any good teacher tries to instill in her students.

My latest book, The Jigsaw Puzzle King, is about a boy who needs to find a greater sense of love for his brother who has Down syndrome. Eventually this deeper love frees him to be happier with himself and to stop caring about what other people think — about him or his brother. 

At the request of my students, I’ve been reading this book aloud the past couple of weeks. It’s been so much fun to see them laughing at all the right spots and showing sympathy for the main characters. Of course, the part about making stink bombs has my boys all wanting to know if they can make them too. I told them yes: “As a science experiment you can make them, but no letting them off in school.” What else could I say? 

Though my main goal in writing this book was not to teach readers how to make a stink bomb, I don’t mind that it did. However, the bigger picture I do hope kids will get from it is best expressed by this quote from one of the characters: Everyone is like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle, each one unique, with our own special place where only we can fit. And without every one of us, the picture would not be complete.