Winston Churchill once said, "Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." Those who dare to make a difference don't always succeed the first time. Some never succeed in the task they've set out to accomplish. But that doesn't mean they've failed. A great deal has been gained along the way. Perseverance, hard work and the refusal to give up builds a strong character.
Where does that attitude come from? Some debate genetics verses upbringing. We may be genetically predisposed on several fronts, but no one will ever convince me that life experiences don't matter.
You'd be amazed at how powerful a part books play in the development of a child's overall growth. Through books, children meet new people, places, and ideas, both real and imagined. Books provide another avenue to stretch the imagination. Through books, children learn about others who have dared to dream, refused to give up, and accomplished great things in their lives.
We know children imitate their parents. Who says it stops there? Let's help all kids reach their dreams. Read to children every day. Doing so will open doors you never even knew were there.
Books to borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"The Five Sparrows; a Japanese Folktale," adapted and illustrated by Patricia M. Newton, Atheneum, 30 pages
Read aloud: age 4 and older, read yourself: age 7 and older.
Many years ago in the Far East there lived a kind and loving old woman. Her goodness knew no bounds, and so it was not unusual that she would rescue an injured sparrow and nurse it back to health.
Her good deeds were scorned by her family and friends who thought her silly and absurd for doting over a bird as she did. The old woman paid them no mind, however, and soon the bird was fully recovered and able to be set free.
Kindness has its rewards, and although the old woman never expected anything for the care she gave to the sparrow, the bird returned to present her a seed. She carefully planted the seed, tended it and discovered it produced wealth beyond her wildest imagining.
The old woman's neighbors were jealous of her wealth, and thinking there was great profit in good deeds, they set about to repeat the old woman's efforts. What they learned, however, was that it isn't enough to simply do good deeds. The feelings behind the deeds are what really count, and kindness and greed reap very different rewards.
Books to buy
The following books are available at favorite bookstores.
"Anna's Blizzard" by Alison Hart, Peachtree, 2005, 150 pages, $12.95 hardcover
Read aloud: age 7 and older, read yourself: age 8Ð9 and older.
It is 1888 in Nebraska, and 12-year-old Anna loves life on the prairie. She enjoys helping with the chores on the family farm, especially herding sheep with her pony, Top Hat. School, on the other hand, is where Anna feels out of place. The difficult academics and a snotty female classmate that continually makes fun of Anna make it seem that school has nothing to offer her and she has nothing to offer in return.
When a terrible blizzard descends on the prairie, tears the door and roof off the one-room schoolhouse and traps the school children and their young teacher inside, Anna knows they must escape before they are buried alive. Can Anna lead the others to safety? A fictional account based on the great storm that hit Nebraska on Jan. 12, 1888, this exciting and poignant novel is first rate.
"Who's Under That Hat?" written and illustrated by David A. Carter, Harcourt, 2005, 14 pages, $13.95 hardcover
Read aloud: age 2Ð4, read yourself: age 6Ð7.
Who's hiding under that hat? Is it a dog, or a lion, or a parrot? Through riddles that provide clues, interactive flaps to lift, loads of bright colors, pop-up surprises and tactile delights, these and other creatures are featured in this delightful book, packed with learning, fun, and a surprise ending.
Library: Douglas County Public Library, 1625 Library Lane, Minden
Library director: Linda Deacy
Youth Services librarian: Kathy Echavarria
Choices this week: "Millions of Cats" by Wanda Gag, "A Long Way from Chicago" by Richard Peck, "Dinosaurs Before Dark" by Mary Pope Osborne
n Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children's literature. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.