It Feels Good to Be Let In
By Karen Robinette, Teacher
A Stanford student has written a book especially for the children at Bing. Ilyssa Silverman wrote and illustrated It Feels Good to Be Let In as a project for a psychology course involving classroom participation in the nursery school. Thanks to the generosity of Helen Bing, the book is available for all to enjoy.
Ilyssa Silverman grew up in Pearl River, New York, a suburb of New York City, with her parents and her younger brother. She has worked with children since she began babysitting at age eleven. While in high school, she worked as an intern at a preschool located at a community college (she finds Bing a utopia in comparison) and was a summer camp counselor for three-to-five-year-olds. She also worked with eight-to-twelve-year-old underprivileged and/or disabled children.
Silverman came to Stanford as an undergraduate and encountered Bing as part of a psychology course in her first quarter. Later, taking the Psychology 147 course at Bing, Silverman decided to write a children’s book for her final project. It seemed a natural extension because her mother had written a book for her when she was two years old (about her first tantrum) and one for her brother on being adopted.
Silverman is actively involved in drama and improvisation, skills that go hand in hand with storytelling. Practicing storytelling at snack and large group times at Bing, she noticed what interested children and which story elements they liked. She chose to focus on exclusion, a developmental issue for all children of preschool age. She illustrated the book with construction-paper cutouts and read it to children at Bing. Her favorite response came from a boy in Center AM. “Ilyssa, let in really isn’t a word, is it?” he asked. “Well, no, I guess it’s not,” she replied. “I was trying to think of something that would be the opposite of left out.” The boy responded, “INCLUDED??”
Following her quarter at Bing, Silverman left for the spring quarter at Stanford in Washington, D.C., where she met Helen Bing. They exchanged news of the nursery school, including book projects: Mrs. Bing showed her the newly published Alphabing, and Silverman brought out It Feels Good to Be Let In. Over the summer, Mrs. Bing offered to publish the book for all the children at the nursery school.
Silverman graduated from Stanford in June 2003 with an undergraduate degree in psychology and a graduate degree in sociology. She will be teaching at Bing in the fall. Later, she hopes to teach drama at an inner-city school. Eventually, she aims to work in child advocacy and foster-care reform.