WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2017/2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/897427

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and emotional learning. When I was intro- duced to Nzobonankira, I knew I had found my story." "A children's book is an exceptional me- dium with which to communicate," she con- tinues. "The book is written to be reread many times — by both parents and children, so you are having an impact on a large audience. With The Banana-Leaf Ball, I think that many children can relate to a game where kids bridge a difference in an effort to win. It is so impor- tant to have unstructured play, a game that has no trophy or adult interference, but in- stead children are playing for the intrinsic value of the game itself." Smith Milway continues to share that she had a focus group of neighborhood children to whom she would read drafts of the book. "I would ask them, does this make sense? Is this what it would feel like to lose something you worked hard to create? What does it feel like to have someone you don't like on your team and then to win together? Oftentimes, the children would agree that they knew some- one like Remy, who was a bully, but was really shaped by his circumstances. On a larger scale, the story of Deo is not very different from the story of young children in the inner city who are facing gang pressures." Whether in the inner city, a refugee camp, or a suburban playground, recess can be intimi- dating to any child who is being bullied. At the end of her book, Smith Milway shares six organizations worldwide that use play and games as a means to build community and confidence. The games are also described so that you can use it with your own children or if you are coaching. Smith Milway, who is a former Wellesley United Soccer parent coach, believes that through coaching and playing children can successfully overcome the differences that may separate them. As Nzobonankira shared in his interview with Littlefield, "You have to love each other, even those who, maybe, you fled. You have to love them. And then, in that way, you become champion." 169 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 7 / 2 0 1 8

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