The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books

Thinkers and artists against all odds

South Central Kansas, land of wind sweeping over wheat fields, land of home baked bierrocks, land of generosity, was my husband’s earliest landscape.  His mother told me that when she had her babies, she couldn’t bear to listen to the radio and all the grim news of war.  She made rolls with surprising hollow middles (a marshmallow, don’t you know?) and pickles and mint tea.  When I broke one of her favorite pitchers, she said something gentle about the way of all flesh.

She liked to be outside on the farm when she was a girl, but when she was a mother, she usually cleaned up the things from breakfast and sat right down to plan lunch.

I spent a week in her part of America, introducing Ethiopia Reads to many teachers and students, and to the nature lovers who came to Dillons Nature Center on Saturday for a Lanie, Make A Difference event.

Some mothers are superb organizers and put together events with ice cream floats and talks and volunteers and nature journals and silent auctions so that they can ship big ol’ containers full of books to kids in Ethiopia.

Oh–and some mothers sort and pack and dust and hoist those books, too.  Pretty tough stuff.

Some mothers sit and sit until their demanding babies are born and then carry worms and bugs to a nest with barely a pause–and carry sacs of baby bird waste to stick them on branches far away from their babies’ home.

Some bounce their babies in a pouch…but not with seatbelts on.

Some make book connections and help kids to make them, too.  I’m glad my mom was one of those and set everything in motion that ended up meaning so much to me in my life.  I’m so glad she took time to sit, every week, and read to us and also to write letters that floated from Ethiopia to the U.S. to her mother and my dad’s mom and dad.

 All kinds of mother, chubby and thin, whether they’re covered with feathers or skin, do their best to hold and hug to keep their young ones safe and snug.

I loved getting these pictures this week about a boy who knows my book so well that he can say every page.  Wahoo for mothers who are artists and readers and thinkers against all odds and model such behavior for their progeny.

5 thoughts on “Thinkers and artists against all odds”

  1. We love this book. 🙂 I think the odds are against us to do more than just survive sometimes. Ethiopia reminds me all the time what real survival means and really, how good it feels to lift others along the way. Sweet pictures!


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