Monday, April 11, 2011

One World. Many stories.

I'm excited to learn that the theme for many libraries' summer reading programs this year is "One world, many stories."

What a treat to be taken by a book to the world across the river, across the ocean, on the other side of the globe. What draws us to these stories from other parts of the planet are the connections--in a new place--to our own lives.

The connection to my own life that spurred me to write The Chiru of High Tibet was admiration for a different kind of bravery: the bold, adventurous trekkers, (who had climbed the faces of glaciers, kayaked icy waters, taken photographs from treetops) did not draw swords or engage in fisticuffs to prove their bravery, but walked two hundred and fifty miles across the Tibetan wilderness, behind chiru, an endangered species. The four men gave up a summer and risked their lives to save animals they might never see again, risked their lives just to keep the web of our world intact. They were taking care of this one aspect of our world.

There is much to be taken care of in any part of the world. A connection that readers might make to The Chiru of High Tibet is to think of what in their own towns they could take care of. Where I live, there is
*my own garden where I can grow food for Rich and me and the food pantry that gives food to others;
*the garbage and litter scattered in my favorite park--Palisades Kepler State Park;
*our public library that can use the books I no longer need.

We all can come up with a list.

When we go around the world we find families, too. I continue to be amused that this Tibetan baby was as curious about me as my little grandbaby Ella would be about a stranger in her home.

We also find cities and towns and the yearning for a spiritual life all over the world. The prayer flags in Tibet have inspired me to think about what I am grateful for, what I would like to change. Students can look at their own lives and think about what they are grateful for, what they wish for and make a "hope" flag, or a "wish" flag.

I can think of nothing better than filling our minds with stories from around the world and filling the air with our wishes, gratitudes, and hopes.

[Next time: facts about Tibet and experimenting with barley bread]

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