Two years ago, first-grader Quvenzhané Wallis of Louisiana was cast in the role of Hushpuppy, a six-year-old fierce warrior in Court 13’s much-praised Beasts of the Southern Wild.
According to producer/director/writer Behn Zeitlin’s notes, “Hushpuppy takes on rising waters, a sinking village, changing times, an army of prehistoric creatures and an unraveling universe that she bravely tries to stitch back together through the sheer force of spirit and resilience.”
Miss Wallis, with no previous acting experience, beat out 4,000 hopefuls for the part; she memorized her lines, was the sole narrator for the 90-minute film and currently is handling interviews with broadcast veterans, such as Jay Leno (NBC’s Tonight) and Whoopie Goldberg (ABC’s The View) like a Hollywood pro.
In fact, last week, she met Ms. Goldberg on the View show and was gifted with books from the Oscar-winning actress/author.
The photo above of Miss Wallis engrossed in her number one favorite read: Ms. Goldberg’s Sugar Plum Ballerinas, was taken on The View set in New York City. Miss Wallis credits a love for reading and books for her success in bringing Hushpuppy to life.
The young stars other favorite reads, she informed us, are: “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald, Scary School by Derek the Ghost, The Witches by Roald Dahl and anything by Dr. Seuss!”
Quvenzhane’s mother, Qulyndreia Wallis, mother of four, is a junior high school teacher and a sports coach. We asked Mrs. Wallis what very basic things can parents can do to raise strong children. Her responses:
“Use positive criticism.
“Using every moment as a teachable moment is a constructive way of showing them the right or wrong way.
“Instill faith of God that all things are possible.”
“Lead by example as parents.”
“Give them a chance to try. Even if they fail, encourage them to try again or try something new.”
In an upcoming issue of Our Time Press, OUR TIME at home: Summer Learning will offer recommendations from other members and associates of the cast of Beasts of the Southern Wild on the tools and resources young warriors need to survive in the worldly wild.