A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, August 7, 2014
Being Thoughtful, Choosing Books, Being Kind
I chose some books today at the library. Picture books.
I read to the preschool at my work on Tuesday mornings. This is my joy as well as my opportunity of being kind. So, I now make a habit of periodically going to the library and choosing some good books to share. Tonight was one of those times. I happened to find a book that I read to my children, some years ago. (They are now ages late teens to thirty.) And—I simply had to take this book out again, to share with the preschoolers.
The book is called “Watch the Stars Come Out” by Riki Levinson, illustrated by Diane Goode. It features a girl and her brother coming from Europe on a steamship, to America. The date, I believe, is the late 1800’s. The touching story, paired with the poignant illustrations, shows some of the trials as well as the excitement of the immigrant journey. And then, they are greeted by and reunited with family once they arrive in New York City.
I love when the two children finally see the Statue of Liberty from the deck of the steamship. Such a beacon of hope and welcome to so many, over the years. Just as everyone in that book was so grateful to see Lady Liberty, so was my grandfather. I know, because he told me so, more than thirty years ago.
My grandfather was the oldest child in his family. They came here from Europe, too. From the far eastern part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, at that time. Just after 1900. The small town—village or shtetl, really—is now in eastern Poland. After the map of Europe has gone through some major revision.
I specifically asked him about coming over on the steamship. He was in his late eighties, and his glance got really wistful. Far away, and long ago. Yes, he could remember seeing the Statue of Liberty as they approached Manhattan. (They stopped at Ellis Island, first.) He told me everyone on the ship pressed up against the rail, or as close as they could get. And looked at Lady Liberty.
I think it’s wonderful, how children’s books feature such important things as going on a long journey, traveling to a brand-new place, discovering a whole new world. This book is a great representation of all those things, and a marvelous beginning for talking about people of different cultures, who speak different languages, eat different foods, and sometimes wear different clothes. Yet, they are all welcomed here to America. Under Lady Liberty’s lamp.
What a wonderful thing it is to let the preschoolers know about the opportunity and freedom so many people have today, in this new country. Where they can worship God as they please, too. I am so glad I can share this important story with the children.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com: