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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lend a Hand, written by John Frank and illustrated by London Ladd. Lee & Low, Fitzhenry and Whiteside. 2014. $19.95 ages 5 and up

It took six years
to grow my hair this long.

A few quick snips
and most of it will be gone,
a ponytail
in the US Mail,
off to be part of a wave wig
worn by someone
whose hair sickness stole."

There are many things each of us can do to make a difference in this world ... any difference at all. It doesn't matter the scope and breadth of it. They are simple acts, and they result in changing lives and the world for the better. Look around you every day, and see where you can help.

It might be as simple as saying hello to someone you pass on the street, or taking a neighbor to an appointment when the weather is not great. It might be helping with taking meals to shut-ins or singing carols at Christmas for those who live in nursing homes. No matter what we do, it assures a better day for someone; in doing so, it also makes us feel better as well.

In this book of poems that describe simple acts of kindness, we see that it might be planting a tree, giving up a seat on the bus, extending a hand those in need. There are fourteen poems; each shows its readers the joy that comes from being kind and from giving. They represent voices as different as the circumstance, and offer some heartfelt and unexpected pairings. I love that one good turn can so easily result in another. Each and every poem can provide just the encouragement young readers might need to get out there and make their own difference.

London Ladd's acrylic and pastel artwork allows readers a chance to imagine themselves in the shoes of those whose poems are so clearly depicted. Whether it's sharing lunch with the new kid or helping a senior carry her groceries, the scenes are familiar and inspirational. Take a little time, put on your thinking cap, and consider how you might help others. It's a great starting point for writing a poem of your own. 

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