Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Sandwich Swap

I absolutely adore her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan! Yes, she's a Queen and yes, she's beautiful, but it's more than that. If I am going to admire someone, it's going to be for her acts of kindness, her compassion for others and her humanitarian efforts and not what she is wearing, who she is dating or what movie she recently starred in. Queen Rania is just this sort of person. With her emphasis on education for all and promotion of human welfare and social reform, she is the type of person that I strive to be and hope that Emmy will be too. Emmy has asked me on numerous occasions why she is here on Earth (not sure where this stems from...maybe her study of planets with her friends at school). I always tell her that she is here to love others and help whenever needed. I've said it so often that she will now tell me that her "purpose is to help all people." I applaud her for knowing her purpose and focusing on people and not things.

Finding books that help communicate the idea that we are all citizens of this wonderful world is not always easy. However, Queen Rania has written a book that celebrates our differences in a way that is easily understood by young children. Written along with Kelly DiPucchio , (check out this post on Kelly's Blog). The Sandwich Swap is a picture book based on Queen Rania's childhood experiences.

Emmy really enjoys this book! It has been taken off the shelf so often at our local book shop that we may be wearing out the pages! Here's a sneak peek at the beginning of this amazing book:

It all began with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…and it ended with a hummus sandwich.

Salma and Lily were best friends at school.

They drew pictures together.

They played on the swings together.

They jumped rope together.

And they ate their lunches together.

But just what they ate was a little different.

Lily ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day for lunch.

Salma ate a hummus and pita sandwich every day for lunch.

And although Lily never said it out loud, she thought Salma's sandwich looked weird and yucky. She felt terrible that her friend had to eat that icky chickpea paste every day. EW. Yuck.

And although Salma never said it out loud, she thought Lily's sandwich looked strange and gross. She felt just awful that her friend had to eat that gooey peanut paste every day. EW. Gross.

I for one love the use of this metaphor (lunch sandwiches) for the differences between two friends from different cultures and am delighted by how the two girls come up with a solution at the end of the story that not only unifies their friendship, but gives all the children the chance to celebrate their uniqueness! Even Emmy, who is not one to try new foods, asked to have hummus for lunch after our first reading.

Listen to her Majesty as she describes how "our differences can enrich our lives."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Giant Hug

Hugs, hugs, hugs. Nothing is better than a special hug from someone who cares about you and this book celebrates this from the very first page all the way to the end.

The Giant Hug, written by Sandra Horning and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev, is a cheerful and heartwarming tale of a pig named Owen who wants to send a hug to his Granny and a picture just will not do.
"I want to send a real hug. I'll give the mailman a hug
and ask him to send it to Granny."
Owen finds a lot of supportive mail carriers who help him to pass his giant hug from his hometown to his Granny's. Each postal worker provides a link in the hug passing chain from the local mail sorter to an airplane pilot to Granny's mail carrier. I absolutely love the way that Owen's hug creates such harmony and acts of kindness. Captain Johnson bellows, "Now isn't that a grand way to start the day!" as he receives a hug from a driver.

This book reminds me of a previous post where I wrote about What Can I Do Today which is a book that also focuses on how an act of kindness makes us all feel better. In addition to spreading warmth, this book gives a wonderful look at how the postal service works and Ms. Horning should know as her father worked at the post office for many, many years.

If you're not sure your's or your child's hug will make it through the mail system as Owen's did, check out Sandra's website for a printable certificate good for one giant hug! I'm sure anyone, especially grannies, would love to receive this certificate along with a photograph of you or your child with arms open wide.
"Please make the hug just as giant when you pass it on to the mailman," Owen said.

Hugs, especially a child's, are precious and instantly change your whole outlook for the better.

Here is Emmy hugging her Granny who we call Yaya.