“Be Curious. Allow Your Heart and Your Mind to Open,” with Amina Luqman-Dawson

“In wanting to connect people to the history and to the people that lived in this time, it goes to, ‘Be curious. Allow your heart and your mind to open for a moment.’ I hope I’ve created a safe space in which to do so.” ~ Amina Luqman-Dawson

The well-deserved accolades pour in — Newberry Medal, Coretta Scott King Award, Cyblis Award, and more — but what caught my eye about Amina Luqman-Dawson’s wonderful book Freewater was her deft deployment of curiosity.

Whether as a springboard for her own writing and research, as an invitation to her readers, or the force that enables her characters’ growth and literal freedom, curiosity is everywhere in this rich, evocative story of children escaping enslavement and finding their power.

“Curiosity,” she says, “is a wonderful place to begin.”

That basic sense of curiosity and of connection is where understanding begins, where empathy begins.

The sad thing is that if you don’t have it, if you’re afraid of it long enough, then other things fill in. You latch on to other things that allow you to take in a sense of inhumanity, disconnection and hostility to the history.

Curiosity lets you weave yourself through the hardship.

Listen to Choose to be Curious #190: “Be Curious. Allow Your Heart & Your Mind to Open” with Amina Luqman-Dawson

Don’t just take my word for it, check out Amina Luqman-Dawson and Freewater yourself. You won’t be sorry.

Learn more about the Newberry Medal, Coretta Scott King Awards, and the Cyblis Award.

A shout-out to Arlington Public Library, championins of stories, information and ideas, for helping to connect me to this particular story.

This isn’t the first time I’ve waxed rhapsodic about The Phantom Tollbooth.

Amina Luqman-Dawson Photo Credit: Zachariah Dawson

Theme music by Sean Balick“Home, Home at Last” by Warmbody, via Blue Dot Sessions.

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Guest quote: "A good question is: Ask me what it's like to be free."

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