You’ve probably seen the little advertisement on your Facebook wall (if you have a Facebook) about a woman named Wanda Steward. The advertisement is for a free e-book download from an organization that helps adults become literate. Wanda Steward’s story is a humble one; she is a mother and grew up not knowing how to read or write. When her children asked her to read a story, she would instead use the pictures and her imagination to craft her own version. This led to her eventually wanting to learn how to read — and to the creation of The Little Chicken Named Pong-Pong.
Although a familiar tale, The Little Chicken is its own creative take on the story Chicken Little (infamously an animated film). In Wanda’s story, Pong-Pong is walking through the forest when suddenly an acorn hits him in the head. “Help! It’s raining acorns!” Pong-Pong would cry, and so then begins the journey of a little chicken eventually overcoming his fear of change.
Pong-Pong’s journey is comparable to Wanda’s as both work to find realization in things that, at first, they don’t understand. Pong-Pong meets fellow animal neighbors as he asks each of them if they’ve ever seen the acorn falling from the sky. As those familiar with the original Chicken Little (or the animated film), Pong-Pong would eventually gather all of the animals to the king so that the king can once and for all answer the puzzle of the acorns falling from the sky.
The king reassures Pong-Pong that the acorn didn’t fall from the sky but from the trees! And so ends the cute story, all from Wanda’s own interpretation and imagination. In the end, Pong-Pong’s realization about the falling acorns actually falling from the trees makes him brave enough to walk into the forest again. It’s this bravery that I think Wanda and Pong-Pong share — they both have walked into scenarios that were, at first, unfamiliar; yet, after a kind guide, all was reassured.
Project Literacy is the organization responsible for amplifying Wanda’s personal story and her book. If you ever have the opportunity to help those who struggle reading or writing, do be kind, understanding, and patient. For all you know, they could have the best story ever told — and with your help, they would be able to finally put it on paper.
About Project Literacy
Project Literacy is a global campaign founded and convened by Pearson, the world’s learning company. The aim is to bring the power of words to the world, by building partnerships and driving action. » More About Project Literacy & How You Can Help