Picture book--historical fiction
When we think of international food aid we tend to think of the
United States as donor and African nations as recipients. It isn't
always the case. Mara Rockliffe's My Heart Will Not Sit Down, based
on a historical event, tells of a time when the reverse happened.
Don't let the fact that it's a children's book fool you. It contains
simple but profound truths that hopefully will touch even adults'
hearts and minds. It reminds me of the parable of the widow's mite
(small coin, not pestiferous insect) in the Bible.
Kedi's American teacher has bad news about the Depression.
People are starving because they don't have money to buy food. Kedi
can't stop thinking about hungry children across "the great salt
river" (Atlantic Ocean). She goes from house to house in her
village. Something wonderful happens.
This story should make Americans feel humble. We give very
little out of our much more plentiful resources--only what we feel we
can afford beyond our needs and wants. It's very much an us and them
situation. We tend to feel down right superior.
Like the Biblical widow, the people in this book give generously
from the little they have. There is no sense of us and them, rather
of shared humanity and decency. We're all in it (life) together.
Just the title brings the point home. Kedi feels such caring for the
starving children her heart stands up in sympathy for them and will
not sit down until she has found a way to help.
I wonder when we ("first world" nations) will catch up with this
way of thinking. I hope it's very soon. In a world of dwindling
resources our modus operendi is down right unsustainable.
On a personal note, I'm looking forward to the fourth of July parade
A great big shout out goes out to people who understand the
interconnectedness of our fragile world and it's inhabitants.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod