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Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Gift of Love


A Gift of Love by Dr. Claus

(Summary taken from the press release) "[A gift of Love] is a children's picture book written through the eyes of a second grade student not far from ground zero on September 11, 2001. As this story unfolds, you will discover how one brave New York City firefighter, father and husband, can inspire a nation and show us all how love for each other is as strong as any form of destruction. A Gift of Love highlights the love of a father for his family, his love for his community, the love of a nation and the ultimate in love. Follow a little girl as she goes from pajamas to pancakes and as she gets ready for her first day of school. Discover the events that happen at breakfast as the family prepares for the coming day."

I received this book awhile ago, but I thought I would highlight it right before the ten year anniversary of September 11, 2001. This book is not happy, but neither was anything else that happened on that day. I am not from New York or Washington D.C., and I did not know anyone that died on that day. But as an American I felt sadness, fear, confusion, anger, panic, and many more emotions.

This book follows a second grade girl on September 11, 2001. It discusses the events that occurred in a very personal, intimate, and child friendly way. This book definitely requires a parent reading with the child. It serves as a good introduction to what happened and allows for discussions to begin from there. It will be easy to adapt the discussions from there to the maturity and level of each individual child. It teaches that love is more powerful than hate, and it teaches the importance of family. I think it also teaches that we should not take those that we love for granted, and that we should enjoy each moment we have with each other. You never know what will happen.

The illustrations in this book are not my favorite, but they are okay. The content and story make up for the illustrations.

I can't say I'm excited to read this book with my children, but I think it will help a lot. With the ten year anniversary on Sunday (My oldest is not quite ten yet, so none of them were alive on September 11, 2001.) I know there will be stories about it everywhere, and I want to discuss it with my kids before they hear it elsewhere.  I will for sure read it with my two oldest, and I'm still trying to decide if I should read it to my third. My youngest is still little so I probably will not read it to her yet.

Thank you, Dr. Claus, for writing a story to help us parents discuss some difficult things with our children. It focuses on hope, not hatred or destruction, so it doesn't leave parent or child with feelings of fear or hopelessness.

Rating: PG (The events of September 11, 2001 are discussed, and there is the death of a main character.)

Recommendation: 5 and up. This totally depends on the maturity of your children. My third is 5 and I'm not sure with her yet. For younger children (who can't read) you could change the story a little to make it a little more on their level.

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