In 1967 artist Leo Lionni wrote a beautiful book about a little mouse named Frederick.

Instead of working like the other mice to gather food and straw for the long winter, Frederick sat quietly soaking up the rays of the sun. When the other mice asked Frederick why he did not work, he explained,

I do work. I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days.

I gather colors, for winter is gray.

I am gathering words for the winter days are long and many, and we’ll run out of things to say.

And winter did come. At first the mice had plenty to eat and were cozy together in their home. But as we know, winter is long. Very long.

Eventually the little mice began to feel bleak. (Anyone know how that feels?)

Finally, they called on Frederick.

What about your supplies, Frederick?

And as Frederick spoke, the little mice began to feel warmer.

They saw the colors as clearly as if they had been painted in their minds.

Frederick was an artist. His work reminded the mice that winter does not last forever. He gave them the fortitude to survive the hardest times. He reminded them of the joy and beauty of the seasons.

When winter gets long, thank goodness for the Fredericks among us, Fredericks like Leo Lionni, Eric Carle, Ezra Jack Keats, and anyone whose work makes you begin to feel warmer and to see the colors as if they had been painted in your mind.


Now is when we need you the most.

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