Hey my Lovelies,
Wherever you are right now,
However you're feeling right now,
I hope this message brings you a cloud of warm, soapy sweetness,
Like morning sunbeams in a secret garden,
Like smiling waves of a clear blue sea.
If you happen to find a bottle in the ocean, the above would be my letter to you. It's what I most want to tell you. Right this minute.
The idea sprouted from a special picture book which I first heard about from my friend, Marcia Strykowski.
There was once an Uncorker of Ocean Bottles.
This is the true story of Li Cunxin, the sixth of seven sons from a rural family in north-east China.
It was the 1960s. China was under Chairman Mao’s rule.
The Li family, like many, was very poor.
There was never enough food. Every night, Cunxin’s mother would pray that none of her sons would starve to death.
The boys squeezed in a tiny room. Cunxin hated his brothers’ feet in his face. They also had to walk for hours to get to school, even in winter.
Were there happy days? Yes. When Cunxin’s father gave him a homemade kite, he tied ‘paper wishes’ to it and they flew it up into the sky.
After that, Cunxin’s father would sit with him and tell him stories. His favourite was the one about a frog living in the deep well. That story didn’t end well. The frog never jumped high enough to escape the dark well. It never got to see the world above. Though it kept trying . . .
Peter, his father, and their dog Harold drive through the dark woods. They're moving in to a house on the other side of the bridge.
Peter thinks this is a terrible idea. He tells Harold so. But what's a boy (or a dog) to do?
At night Peter and Harold looked from the upstairs window, past the wooden bridge, out to the dark woods. Terrible things hid in the trees. Neither Peter nor Harold slept at all.
In times like this, what one needs is to make new friends. So you'll feel safer.
So Peter starts making a new friend. Literally.
He piles up pillow upon pillow. He pulls and kneads and sews and wraps them up. He builds Lenny, Guardian of the Bridge.
Now they'll be able to sleep better!
That night, Peter and Harold stare out from the upstairs window at Lenny. And they begin to worry about their new friend. Will he be lonely?
Again, nobody sleeps that night.
I suppose you can guess what Peter does next. (Hint: Check the book title. Another friend is coming up!) But that's not all to this story. Will Peter be able to make new friends by making his new friends? Besides friendship, this story is about the power of imagination, and it reminds me a little of The Velveteen Rabbit. If you're willing, your toys/creations can be just the friends you need to lead you to a bigger world. (Of course, it helps to have a faithful dog by your side, too.)
A playful book about making the best out of a difficult situation and making friends along the way.
Moving to a new place can be quite unsettling for children. Have you had this experience? How did you make friends?
Grab My Button!
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Hey, I'm Claudine. Welcome!
Want to know what children's stories can inspire & lead to?
by Kate Hanney
Really enjoyed the honest voice of this narrator ~ a teenager let down by his mother and the foster care system, and almost-picked up through his involvement with a gang.