Brief summary: First scene. There is a student dressed in a graduation gown and mortar looking out of a school window smiling. The wordless story continues with the setting through a bird’s view of a city block all in gray with a school yard in the center. Closer look. There are cracks all over the school building and concrete grounds. Next is a large graduation day banner. Then we see where the plot begins. The student is a victim of a group of children jeering at her, and one shoots a sunflower seed through a straw hitting her in the neck. She picks up the seed. They all go to the graduation ceremony, hear the speech, and throw their hats in the air. Kids are happy and go home with family members.
She walks alone down the school’s gray halls to her locker one last time where there is a jar full of sunflower seeds revealing to the reader just what type of life this young lady endured. She takes the jar and goes about the empty school grounds planting sunflower seeds in the cracks creating a beautiful bright yellow space.
Comments: Wow. So many words and emotions for a story without words. Not the usual happiness on someone’s graduation day. This is a story of a person who has been bullied many times made evident of all the sunflower seeds collected in her locker’s jar. She was able to take that hate and meanness and loneliness to create the only bright color in the book…a sunflower garden. This is a resonating story without words that is not a preachy bullying message of “do not bully; it’s wrong.” This is about a victim who, despite it all, is able to create hope and beauty where there must have been a lot of heartache. The symbolism of the sunflowers can be understood by even younger readers.
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