Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remembering September 11th in Song + Children's Patriotic Artwork


Fifteen. Fifteen years. Fifteen anniversaries. Fifteen. 

I know I remember the specific shade of blue of the sky on that Tuesday. 
I know where I was. 
I know what I was doing.
Our annual Artist-in-the-Schools open house was cancelled.  
I know that you remember as well. 
I know you remember connecting with loved ones the first time after you learned. 
Every memory is etched into our collective memory. 

Watching the news coverage.
 Being unable to move away from the unfolding details. Disbelief. Shock. Horror. 

I remember all too well the sense of helplessness I felt. 

photo of: Elementary School Children Waving the American Flag for Author Visit with Debbie Clement
Picture from Clyde, OH. Thanks to Principal Peggy Stickney for this extra-ordinary welcome! 
Friday of that week, fifteen years ago, I was leading worship for Tot Shabbat at the New Albany, JCC preschool in central Ohio. 
I had a bag of flags. 
I had the four year old children wave them, 
while we stood together on the steps of the synagogue. 
Everyone gathered sang: 
'Red, White and Blue.... I love you.'  

It took me a couple of years to flesh out a full arrangement of the simple phrase. With the help of Tom Martin's arrangement and my friends at Amerisound Studios, it became a full fledged song. The first time I heard our arrangement, was driving around the outerbelt of 270 in the midst of fireworks of the Fourth of July. 

Fitting. Tears. Gratitude. 

As soon as the song was recorded it could be performed without my participation. With the simplicity of the arrangement and the repetition -- even very young children can sing it and pay honor to this day. 

Today and all of this coming week, I have put the digital download version of the song on the DEEPLY discounted, reduced price of one dollar. 

My hope is that offers you sufficient incentive to go to TeachersPayTeachers for a copy for yourself. I hope that you can use it to honor this day. I hope that it offers you a new resource for your young children that can be used throughout the year to instill a sense of patriotic pride and for you to reflect on this day. 

"Red, White and Blue" Patriotic Song for Digital Download

Once the song began to have a life of its own, I began to think about bringing it to life in picture book format. Soon I began gathering the fabrics and designing the quilts. 
It takes 16 quilts to create a 32 page picture book. 

It took years to bring the project to full fruition. 
It was interrupted twice by my diagnosis with Breast Cancer. 
In the end I was fortunate to persevere and bring the project to fruition. 

Once we got the book into print format, I submitted it for consideration for awards and received the Indie Award for Excellence! 

"Red, White and Blue" by Debbie Clement at RainbowsWithinReach

About that same time, as a result of my being able to take the book to NAEYC in California, I received an invitation to travel to Europe to visit a series of our Army bases in Germany and Italy. 
I taught my simple patriotic song to the children of our troops stationed abroad. 

photo of: Debbie Clement's European Tour for "Month of the Military Child"

And since then, I have been able to take the quilts and the book format to schools from coast to coast, teaching the song.  
I have included some of the classroom responses below. 

Patriotic Kindergarten Response to "Red, White and Blue" by Debbie Clement

There are times when thoughtful teachers send me a memento of our time together. 
I am so grateful to receive snail mail with quilted patriotism. 

photo of: Quilt Response to "Red, White and Blue" by Debbie Clement

photo of: "Red, White and Blue" Collaborative Quilt at RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Author-Illustrator School Visit: comparing Quilt to Picture book Illustration with Debbie Clement

photo of: Cooperative Painting with Young Children, Toddler Patriotic Painting

Patriotic Flag Art in Kindergarten in Response to "Red, White and Blue" by Debbie Clement

Kindergarten Art in Response to "Red, White and Blue" by Debbie Clement

photo of: Project Based Learning in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

Just a reminder. 
My digital download of the song will be on the deeply discounted price of one dollar 
for the week ahead.
 Visit TeachersPayTeachers to get your copy.  
My legacy at this point is having my work used at schools near and far. 

"Red, White and Blue" Patriotic Song for Digital Download

Last week I was the guest Author-Illustrator for a day here in Door County. 
I had the opportunity to work with the children in preschool through 5th grade. 

The day was well documented and we were on the front page of the local newspaper. 
***Mom. You can read the whole article here on line. 

When I arrived at the school the entire front bulletin board, the length of the hall,
 was festooned with the artwork of the First Grade. 
They learned that my favorite thing about Door County is our amazing sunsets. 
So they created sunsets for me! 
Each first grader created their own silhouette to stand in contrast to the sunset. 

Our day together launched a year long thread of patriotic activities in the elementary. 
The students will be writing letters to our troops. 
My song "Red, White and Blue" is slated to be be used in the Veteran's Day program 
and at other times of year as well.

As usual, I run around the building and take photos during my lunch. 
It was awesome to see some of our "Wobble Seats" already in their classrooms. 

You can read more about how I got involved as a distributor for 
in this encyclopedia of an article about Alternative Seating. 

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