I blow the dust off my sunglasses before I start driving. So does four-year-old Ellie. She doesn’t have sunglasses, nor is she driving, but that doesn’t stop her from imitating my actions.
On a deeper level, the iron-willed and compassionate “Lady with the Lamp” changed lives not only for the wounded soldiers of her day, but for all who would follow her in the nursing profession, and for their patients.
As children’s book authors, can we be agents of change with stories of men and women, boys and girls, and even animals that model kindness and initiative to an eager audience?
Who are your real-life heroes? Perhaps there is someone you could interview and photograph for a story. A veteran, maybe, or a foster parent. When our infant granddaughter failed to thrive in the hospital just after birth, her surgeon asked a social services agency to provide someone who would visit the child frequently. They responded with Tricia, a foster mom who spent hour after hour, day after day, visiting and singing to the little girl until it was time for her to leave the hospital. And now, in the home provided by her adoptive parents (our daughter and son-in-law), this child continues to thrive. Perhaps you know a “Tricia,” an unassuming person who quietly teaches us that kindness rules.
I like Saving Joey: A True-life Story, for the author’s sensitive portrayal of his birth mother’s grief and concern, and the tough decision she made to provide a good life for her baby the only way she knew how. I can see this story being of great comfort to an adopted child, especially one who was “abandoned” in a place where s/he was sure to be found.
But heroism is not confined to people! Perhaps you could write about a service dog, or a search and rescue dog. My mother’s rescued cat repaid the kindness, alerting me when my mother needed an ambulance.
However, a story need not be true to teach a powerful truth. After all, surely the most famous kindness story of all is The Good Samaritan, told by the King of storytellers!
Will you and I help make the world a kinder, gentler place by writing about heroes that show us how it’s done?
And, if you’re looking for help and companionship in your writing journey, please check out the Authors Community, for which I edit children’s picture books. There you’ll get to know a group of people who share their joys and struggles, and who give and receive advice freely.