Friday, September 7, 2007

Fireboat . . .

Next week we observe the anniversary of the September 11 attacks on our country. Often our children look to us for clues about how to respond to difficult events and anniversaries. Our response sets the tone for their response.
Fireboat, The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, explains the events of September 11 in New York City in a way children can understand. Written and illustrated by Maira Kalman, this true story of a retired fireboat, renovated by a group of friends as a way to have fun, reminds us that when the worst was done, many people gave their best, using every resource and skill they possessed, to help others.
That day, Kalman writes, “the Harvey was snoozing at the pier.” But after the attacks on September 11, the friends who had renovated the little fireboat wanted to help.
“They all had one thought. Get to the Harvey. And they did. They called the fire department. 'John J. Harvey, ready to help. How can we help?' The answer came: 'You can't help fight the fire but you can ferry people to safety.'”
What happens next is both surprising and inspiring.
A good story, well told, transforms us. Even now I can't read this book out loud without crying; I suppose my grandchildren will learn something from that, too.
If you have a 6 – 10 year old with questions about the events of September 11, Kalman's book, published in 2002 by G. P. Putnam's Sons, will help you answer those questions sensitively, honestly, hopefully.
It's a fine book to share with a child or grandchild. I recommend it highly.

No comments: