Know a child who could use a heartening true-to-their-life story or two? Or… Maybe even yourself?
RING THE BELLS OF THANKSGIVING!
“We think it is safe to say that almost every kid is insecure about something, whether it is looks, or sports ability, or schoolwork, or friends, or clothing, or just knowing what is cool…
That’s why we have made you this book… You’ll read stories written by older kids and adults who… share their experiences with you so that you know you are not alone…”
~ Kevin Sorbo and Amy Newmark
Sometimes an anthology can be a grab bag mix. But when the stories have you talking to yourself out loud, well, you know they’ve struck a chord in the best possible way. (Either that, or maybe you are a bit stir crazy from being housebound a few weeks, cooped up with a broken wrist and an oversized pillow as your book holder…) Closing the cover on this one recently, finishing so many difference-making stories, I just burst out to the Lord and no one else there, “This really is a collection I’m proud to be a part of! To anticipate all the ways it may uplift those who really need that nudge of hope...”
I sat back and ruminated over these stories as I always do with those that touch home, how they make me want to encourage children to know they aren’t alone in self-doubts and worries or in thinking they just aren’t smart or good enough or in their longing for friends of the heart and not knowing how to make them. At one time or another, I’ve been each one of those.
And because I see my old self, and even a little bit of my today self in each of these true recollections, they fill me with renewed heart to lift today’s kids — and yesterday’s (each of us!) — to aspiring to new dreams and following through on them. To knowing no matter who we are, how old we are, where we’ve come from or where we are going — we each have so much to give. That God has planted and purposed to shine only through us in ways that, similar to George Bailey, make us so vital to each life searching for a bit of wonderful…
Think Positive for Kids covers every theme from
· Trying something new,
· Doing the right thing and developing self esteem
· Accepting one another’s differences,
· Handling bullies,
· Making real friends, being responsible and being grateful.
I told you about a few of these stories that caught my heart here: A Thanksgiving and Advent Dare.
But here’s another peek inside the pages…
I know this book will shine hope into children who read it, or whose parents share and discuss these stories with them. And if you are like me, reading them as an adult may be like slipping a comforting arm round the child you used to be and a boost to all those dreams still percolating…
For they are…
- Inspiring. Like the story of the boy who had been feeling pushed by family into participating in a year long school project for a History Day competition. Understanding he faced a ton of work, he’d conceded to pressure and decided on learning how to make a documentary. But his heart wasn’t in it until the day his parents took him to a benefit concert in New York…Through the Eyes of the Children: The Rwanda Project… “It was a showing of photographs taken by orphans depicting Rwanda after the horrific genocide in 1994,” he wrote. “The pictures and children were beautiful and uplifting. I was moved by it. I had found my documentary topic for my History Day journey…” (Tucker Blandford, History in the Making)
- Touching. These are the ones ranging from first person accounts of children who persevered against difficult circumstances, or went forth and created something beautiful in music or art in ways they never thought possible — to the many tales recounting days of standing up to bullies on behalf of others, or wishing they had. In writing my own piece for this anthology, my heart was to give confidence to kids to be true to their own values when they come up against peer pressures, and that feeling of “but what if they stop liking me?” How I remember those struggles! Maybe that’s why I loved reading stories like the one of the young girl who took a chance of being ostracized when she stood up for the classmate shunned by everyone else…“Each day in the cafeteria, Ricky ate alone,” she wrote. “While he sat and picked the crust off his bologna sandwich, we shuffled past with our hot lunch trays. A boy walked up and swooped up Ricky’s bag of potato chips and a game of keep-away followed until tears left a white streak down Ricky’s dirt-stained cheeks. ‘Cry baby,’ a boy called out before crushing the chips and tossing the bag back to him. I wondered if Ricky cried because it was the only meal he would get that day. Surprisingly, Ricky once found courage to sit with some boys at a different lunch table. But once he sat down, all the boys moved to another table and left Ricky alone once again. My heart ached for him in that moment, and I felt guilty for not joining him out of fear of being shunned. The next day…I tried to walks past Ricky…but my feet just wouldn’t budge. My moment of truth had arrived. I stood before Ricky, and we made eye contact before I slid onto the bench… ” (Cathi LaMarche, True Friendship)
- Dare I even say – healing? As I look back now, I see so many ways that even though I had some good friendships that carried me through, I was the victim of bullying. Waylaid on my few blocks walking home by the would-be toughie who spat something gross all over me and reviled me for no reason I knew other than I wore glasses (4-eyes). To the girls who openly ostracized and sneered at my uncool shoes or knee highs or whatever the weekly jibe was. To those days of trying to fit in at lunch tables of a new school where others often slid away from me and laughed inane jokes about goody goodies behind their hands. (“How do they even know I am a goody goody,” I often wondered, “if they never even talk with me?”) And wishing, wishing, wishing the bell would just ring to return to class. At the time, I begged my mom not to let teachers know about it — fearing they might make it worse. Reading the stories that took me back to those days, I see with fresh eyes how wrong that was to try and shoulder it alone, not knowing how to change it…And it somehow uplifts me, takes me back full circle, to see in these stories an overcoming of the causes and effects of bullying taking place…one by one. How I would encourage a child now who may be in the midst of those similar situations… or see others who are and want to stand up and say no more…
Overall, this compilation of very real situations children face is heartwarming and laced with hope and a feeling of I can be and do that too! It is a collection of stories about children from many walks of life…how they learn and grow and become in the midst of finding their strengths, pursuing hopes and overcoming self-doubts…discovering friends and confidence and fun in being exactly who they are. There’s just something life-changing in finding out… you went through that too? And hearing how someone else has overcome or found success when they didn’t see how they would…just like us.
I was delighted as well to read how a major goal behind this compilation is to support what sounds like an excellent program for children, A World Fit for Kids – one where adults are role models to helping children develop their own strengths and follow their dreams. All of Kevin Sorbo’s royalties from this, along with a share of Chicken Soup’s proceeds, will benefit children who need encouraging stories!
As the book cover says… this one is for Kids of All Ages! 🙂
One of the things that is so fun about writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul is the day the UPS guy lugs a box of ten free contributor copies to leave upon my steps…a few weeks ahead of those arriving on store shelves. (Note: I’m a few weeks past the on sale date on this giveaway though since I was sidelined with my wrist…)
And gives me the opportunity as part of offering thanks this season to present a copy for giveaway! Linking to this KID LIT LINK I just noticed this book is being offered at Create With Joy blog as well… the more opportunities to win the merrier! 🙂
At the moment, I have to limit this to nearby postal areas. If you live in the United States and would like to encourage someone through the pages of this book, simply leave me a comment here by December 3rd. Include your name and an email address where I can reach you if you are the winner!
DON’T FORGET YOUR COMMENT and your Email address info TO ENTER!
Even if you don’t choose to enter this giveaway,
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this question:
If you could, what word of “look up” encouragement would you offer
that child you once were… today?
© Pam Depoyan
Inspire Me Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life