By Jennifer Close
Destination: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Book: Saige Paints the Sky (2012) by Jessie Haas and Sarah Davis
Saige and her pony, Picasso. Photo courtesy of American GirlGolden green grass and brightly colored hot air balloons floating against a blue background is how Saige describes her Albuquerque, New Mexico. Saige Copeland is a fourth grader in Albuquerque and just happens to be the Girl of the Year for American Girl.
My daughter is currently obsessed with American Girls. She loves to thumb through the catalog that comes to our house, listen to the stories on Playaway that we check out from the library, and wander through the store making up additional stories about where the American Girl goes or what she does. Though she listens to the stories via book on CD or Playaway, our library has not gotten in the latest story so we read Saige Paints the Sky together.
In Saige Paints the Sky, the reader learns a little bit about New Mexico and a real horse ranch owned by Saiges’ grandmother, Mimi. Mimi is put in a rehabilitation home to recuperate from a fall. Saige visits her often and Mimi shares with her that she has had to step out of her comfort zone and learn new things. Leaving her home to recuperate in the rehabilitation home has made Mimi learn how to paint with the hand she isn’t used to using and has encouraged her to meet new people and try new things.
Saige is confronted with a problem at school and she really wants to help do something about it. When she turns to Mimi for advice, Mimi tells her that “change usually means going outside your comfort zone” and encourages Saige to step outside of that zone.
This statement can certainly be applied to travel. When we travel, we usually step out of our comfort zones. We have to go to stores that are set up differently from what we are used to (even when they have familiar names!). We have to figure out a new public transportation system or attempt to converse in a language we don’t know. We try new foods, new experiences and new things.
It was even more special reading Saige Paints the Sky together because we will be headed to Albuquerque just in time to see the Balloon Fiesta, which is a main part of the story. My daughter can’t wait until she can see some of the spots that Saige mentions in the book and she is excited to see the brilliant balloons light up the night sky.
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