Welcome back to Blogville, my place for tea and stories. I have made myself a cup of chamomile for your visit, I’m so glad you are reading ❤️
As many of you know I began this journey to help children and families talk with each other about their stories of adoption, kinship, or alternative care. What started out as a retirement project, to develop a handout for the agency I retired from, turned into a book called What Is Your Story? Let’s talk about adoption and kinship. Now my journey is to help the book get into the hands of families. One way I have been doing this is by donating books to public libraries where they will accept them (this is harder than you think). Since the book contains activities between the chapters, libraries are rightfully concerned that patrons might complete the activities in the book and ruin it for the next patron. As one solution, the activities are available, at no cost, in a downloadable/printable format in the activities section of my website, www.whatisyourstorybook.com
If you might be interested, I would appreciate it if you can check with your local library to see if they would accept a donated copy of the book for their shelves- the librarians can email me at email@example.com. Thank You! (Limited supply available.)
I was inspired to ask you this by an experience I recently had at a library. Let me tell you about it . . .
This is a story about my belief in the idea that things happen for a reason. For a couple of months I had been trying to reach the librarian of a public library in a community that I visit several times per year. I was inquiring if they would accept a donation of my book. I hope to have the book available in as many community libraries as I can so that families who cannot afford to purchase the book would be able to access it. So, when I am going to communities I often try to reach their public libraries and offer to stop in and donate a copy of the book.
In this particular case I had previously tried to reach the library via email on two upcoming occasions when I would be visiting that community. I did not receive any responses from the library. However, not be be deterred, as you can imagine that I am not easily deterred, I decided to personally visit the library when I was there recently. I spoke to a staff member and asked about donating my book to the library and she graciously went to get the head librarian.
I gave my, ‘please accept this donation’ speech to the librarian and explained that the goal of the book is to help families travelling adoption, kinship, or alternative care journeys. I explained that, though there are activities in the book, the activities can be downloaded at no cost, and printed from my website. I also explained that the activities are in the book in order to help pace the emotions that readers may be feeling when working through each chapter of the book. If the emotions are too high, the activities are a great natural break in the book and a great ‘excuse’ to stop reading the content at that time. The librarian was very pleased to accept the donation of the book and even inquired if the library may print the activities to accompany the book. I responded that this would be wonderful, especially for families with multiple children.
The librarian and I were then chatting about a finger puppet cut-out activity that my birth sister, Krista Donnelly, the book’s illustrator, had designed as a supportive activity for families reading the book. I gave the librarian some copies of the puppet activity pages so that they might be able to copy them to provide to families borrowing the book. I explained that these copies had been generously donated to me so that I could provide them to families.
We also talked about the potential for me to attend the library at a future date and make a presentation for the public. I was explaining the frequency of my visits to the community and that I would be in touch prior to a future visit so we could plan something. The librarian seemed very interested in the idea. I was explaining that I live in Timmins, Ontario when a voice suddenly chimed in with, “I’ve been there!”
The voice belonged to one of my cousins whom I had not seen in several years. He was accompanied by his young grandson, a shy little guy that I will call H. So while my husband was talking with his grandfather I was chatting to the little guy about school, sports, and other things. Since I have some grandchildren around his age I took out my phone and we were looking at their pictures. H spotted a portable gaming device in one of the pictures and began telling me all about what games he plays on his. His system is yellow though, he patiently explained, not orange like the one in the picture but H quickly assured me that it still does the same things. While we were chatting I found out it was this child’s very first visit to this library and I told him it was mine too! He was a little shy and wearing masks made things even a bit more uncomfortable, but I think we established a little common ground.
His grandfather then began updating me about himself, his siblings and his wife, as well as his adult children, including H’s mother. It turns out that H and his mother are living with them in a blended household.” I looked up at the grandfather and asked if I could give H a copy of my book (by coincidence, or perhaps not, I happened to have an extra copy in my bag because of the library donation). The grandfather explained to H that I had written a book for children and H’s eyes got pretty big. I took the book out, opened it to the page that contains my picture and stepped far enough back that I could safely remove my mask to show him that was me in the picture. H consulted the picture very seriously, looked up at my maskless face, and his little face lit up. I asked if he would like me to give him a copy of my book he shyly nodded yes. So I signed the copy and handed the book to H. For some unknown reason, I had also held back a copy of the puppet handout when I gave the rest of the activity pages to the librarian so I handed that to H too. He hugged that book and the puppet activity pack to his chest and smiled broadly. The grandfather was very appreciative and offered to pay for the book but I asked if I could please gift it to H and he accepted.
There are no words. I honestly cannot describe how it felt to hand that little boy a copy of the book I created for families like his, and for children travelling journeys like he is. He and his mom live in a different family scenario where the two of them are a team surrounded by a supportive family and network of friends. I suppose I never really expected to knowingly be able to personally hand a copy to a child who will hopefully benefit from some aspects of the book. Especially a child whom I am related to. If a heart can burst with emotion, mine was as close as possible to bursting. I knew then without a shadow of a doubt, that this book was meant to be!
Suddenly I began to look at the whole scenario. Maybe it was meant to be that the librarian did not have an opportunity to answer my emails, maybe it was meant to be that I and H would be at that library that day, each of us for our “very first time”. Maybe H was meant to receive a copy of the book, and I was meant to be the one to give it to him. Maybe my book will reach its goal of making a difference. We will never know for sure, but my tummy does flips when I think about it. Things do happen for a reason.
As always, I look so forward to reading your comments and if you prefer a less public forum, please email your comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org