Part of my job involves reading books. yes, folks, i DO get paid to read books. lots and lots of books. You see, i’m searching for 8 books to be used as read-alouds for 4th grade. (grade 4 if you live north of the border) But not just any books. no. because that would be easy. Because they are for the educational market, no sex, no drugs, no abuse, no alcohol, no smoking, no kissing, no romance. i’m looking for hidden gems. books that are well-written, read aloud nicely, but are not too well known yet.
here’s the problem with that. the books that are great? they are well-known. I reviewed this book called The City of Ember a few weeks ago. and i fell in love. what a fantastic book! I passed my copy around to everyone in the office and it was agreed. fabulous. first time author? check! not too well-known? check! no red flags? check! We were set. but, then, it seems there were other people who had found the same book. And now they are making a movie. a freakin’ movie. there goes the hidden gem factor.
So, i’ve been reading through piles and piles. probably about 10-15 books a day, at least. i stop at the library every single day on my way home to return the rejects and pick up the new hopefuls that i’ve put on hold. they know me at the library. we are bffs. they know me at Chapters. we are bffs.
yesterday i came across this book called Hiding Edith.Ã‚Â It’s a Holocaust memoir, but it’s a little bit different. It’s about this house in Moissac, France, where a couple, Shatta and Bouli Simon, secretly opened up a school for fugitive Jewish children. They saved hundreds and hundreds of lives of children during the Holocaust. One of these children was Edith.
As i sat and plowed through this book – i highly recommend it, by the way – I was suddenly brought to tears. They came out of nowhere, and i couldn’t control them. keep in mind that i was sitting at my desk. at work. where i have a cubicle and no privacy.
You see, in this story a desperate mother sends away her two youngest children to go and live at this house, and she takes her oldest daughter with her into hiding somewhere else. the middle child begins screaming. She scared. she’s feeling betrayed. why does her sister get to go with her mother? why does she have to go and live in some strange place all alone? This was where I began to cry. But not for Edith.
I cried for the mother.Ã‚Â she had to decideÃ‚Â who to take and who to leave. Can you imagine? She didn’t know. how do you choose? How do you send your bunnies off to an unknown fate? I mean, my biggest decision about taking and leaving my kids involves which ones get to come food shopping with me and which stay behind to watch the family channel. perspective, my friends.
Both of my mother’s parents were holocaust survivors. They spent time in ghettos. in labor camps. in death camps. they lost parents and uncles and aunts and cousins. they lost siblings. so, i grew up with stories of the Holocaust in my house.
It wasn’t until i had kids, though, that the stories began hitting me. hitting me so hard in the heart that sometimes i couldn’t even breathe. Suddenly theseÃ‚Â women you see in pictures and read about in books become mothers. Mothers with their own little bunnies. just like me. mothers who have to face the reality that their children could be killed. i can’t even imagine.
so…friends, today it’s all about perspective. It’s all about sitting back and thanking your lucky stars for what you DO have. for what you take for granted. for simple pleasures that you don’t even realize. for the moments when i lie in bed on sunday mornings cuddling all three of my kids. for the moment when i’m getting read to leave for work, and i get a “mwah” from all three of my kids, and Isabella gives me a giant wave and says, “bye, mama! see soon!” for a moment – like i had last night – where Emily and Joshie, who are usually at each others’ throats, slept in the same room, and at 10:15 at night were still awake, chatting away. my first instinct was to get angry. why weren’t they sleeping? but then i could hear their little whispers and the laughter. i knew they were smiling. siblings. i take for granted this fact. that they have each other. It’s really a gift.
what little things are you most thankful for?