Archive for March, 2014
Books used in this review are from my personal library or were provided by my local public library. I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book title referred to on my website and purchase it from Amazon, I may receive a very small commission on your purchase. You will incur no additional cost, however. I appreciate your support.
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We are on the eighth blessing of the Nisim B’Chol Yom/the blessings for daily miracles recited during morning prayers:
“Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe,
Who strengthens the weary.”
In October 2000, my sister and I walked the Avon 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk (Back then it was a 3-day, 60 Mile walk!) in honor of our mother z’l, a survivor of breast cancer. The walk began in Santa Barbara, CA and ended in Malibu, CA. It was an incredible experience. One I hope to participate in again someday.
Along with fundraising, I trained for the walk for months ahead of time. However, no amount of training could have prepared us for the massive rain storm that hit the coast of California the Sunday morning of our walk. My sister and I were determined to finish, in spite of the rain, but we had different walking styles. We therefore agreed to split up (she being the faster walker), meet at the designated rest stop one mile before the end and walk that last mile together.
I walked…and walked…and walked. 20 miles is a long walk in the best of weather, but with rain pouring down and wind blowing around and the temperature dropping by the minute, those 20 miles felt like 1000. Still, I walked. And I prayed, really I sang to myself, Debbie Friedman’s (z’l) Mi Shebeirach, over and over, to give myself the strength and courage to take the next step, then the next. It was amazing to me, how much strength I gained from singing and walking, as if I had a well inside me filled with energy from which to draw whatever strength I needed to continue. During that time, I felt I could actually walk to the moon and back!
While I did not make it to the moon, or to the finish line (another long story,) I was given the strength to walk 59 miles on my own two feet for this very important cause. Mi Shebeirach has become my anthem for any situations in which I find myself low on reserves, but in need of strength to continue the task at hand. I hope you will find a similar talisman for the trying times life often throws along life’s journey.
Brave Irene Written and Illustrated by William Steig. ©1986. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Ages 6-10. Irene’s mother has made a most beautiful dress for The Duchess to wear at tonight’s Ball, but she is too sick to deliver it. Can Irene make it through the blizzard and deliver the dress before it is needed? Irene is loving, strong and brave…so of course she can!
The Little Engine that Could. Retold By Watty Piper. Illustrated by George & Doris Hauman. ©1930. 1976. Grosset & Dunlap. Ages 2-8. In this classic story, a little train helps get a cargo of charming, fun toys and delicious, healthy food to the good girls and boys on the other side of the mountain. “I think I can. I think I can….I thought I could. I thought I could!” A timeless message for young children.
The Man Who walked Between the Towers. Written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein. ©2003. Roaring Brook Press. Ages 5-9. Imagine your goal is to walk on a tightrope as high in the air as you possibly can. There was a young man who did this once. He walked between the Twin Towers in New York City, NY. Why, how and what happened after he did it are all beautifully explained and drawn in this Caldecott Award winning picture book.
Sparrow Girl. Written by Sarah Pennypacker. Illustrated by Yoko Tanaka. ©2009. Disney-Hyperion Books. Ages 5-9. What do you do when you are small and young and someone older and, supposedly, wiser tells you to do something that you know is wrong? When Mao Tse-Tung declared a war on sparrows in China, 1958, Ming-Li knew there would be problems, so she quietly, secretly and courageously saved 7 sparrows. However, the lack of sparrows to eat the insects caused a flourishing locust population that ate all the grain and China suffered a huge famine that killed over 40 million people. Except in Ming-Li’s town where 7 sparrows helped her village survive.
©2014 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and forwordsbooks.com. All rights reserved.