“Leave me alone,” protests our sad little protagonist. “My problem is a giant So big he blocks the sun . . . .
A giant full of nasty words, A giant huge and strong, Who casts a shadow over me As dark as it is long.”
Kes Gray put this small sad rhyme into the mouth of the little boy before the current terrorist attacks cast their black shadow, but his message of despair still rings true. And, as many other fine picture books for children do, this story offers hope. Through the compassion, courage and initiative of the rabbit, the fly, the cow, the frog, the pig and others who inhabit his world, our young hero finds peace and safety.
After sharing hundreds of stories with children over the years, I’m now more fully realizing why I like this genre. Simply and cleanly, these stories affirm truths we learned as children—that we need each other, that meanies can very quickly become cowards, and that even the smallest of us has important work to do.
Are there stories and memories from your childhood that you draw on for courage in uncertain times?