Thursday, November 1, 2018

Help Me Gather Wordless Picture Books for Syrian Kids

Hello November! It isn't often that Spiritual Journey Thursday falls on the first of the month, so that's "neat" (as my late father would say!). And today, our hostess Ramona at Pleasures from the Page has asked us to reflect on and write about the word "gather."

'Tis the season for gathering, of course. Most often this word conjures images of lively, crowded Rockwell paintings or holiday movie scenes -- which is not the kind of "gathering" a quiet person (in a family of quiet people) generally prefers! Our gatherings are small and simple -- which, in the movies, might look lonely or sad. NOT SO! It's just the way we like it.
"Freedom from Want"
Norman Rockwell

It reminds me of a movie scene, actually, and I cannot remember the name of the movie -- perhaps a reader can help? A young couple is in a restaurant looking over at an older couple who is sharing a meal without speaking. The younger man says something about how sad that is, two old people with nothing left to say to each other. The younger woman says, how beautiful that they can sit together after all these years and need no words at all.

It's all perspective, isn't it?

I would like to share two non-holiday things I am currently gathering:

1. Books! In addition to his support of animals, the Cat Man of Aleppo has recently opened an orphanage in the city of Aleppo. Currently there are 68 children living there. Karim Shamsi-Basha (my co-author for forthcoming CAT MAN OF ALEPPO picture book) and I were thinking about what we could give to those kids... and of course we thought, "books!"

But. Where does one in America find books printed in Arabic? How can we connect with and support these kids without sharing a language?

one of my favorite
wordless picture books
With WORDLESS PICTURE BOOKS, of course! So I am collecting wordless picture books, if anyone would like to donate one (or more!) to the cause. Karim (originally from Syria) will actually be traveling to Aleppo next spring, and he will deliver the books to the children. You may send books to:

PO Box 122
Oneonta, AL 35121

Please do share this with others you think might be interested. Thank you!

2. Leaves. As part of the Writing in the Wild session I am presenting at NCTE with Mary Lee Hahn, Heidi Mordhorst, Laura Purdie Salas & Margaret Simon, there will be an opportunity for attendees to use a jeweler's loupe and try the Private Eye method of inquiry using fall leaves. So, if you see me at NCTE and wonder why I'm holding a big bag of leaves -- well, that's why. :)


  1. You know I'm in with the wordless picture books, Irene! Great project! xo

  2. Irene, I want to send you Kate DiCamillo's book La La La. Those are the only words in it. I can't wait to gather with you at NCTE!

  3. We will all gather together at NCTE and in the meantime, I am loving your thoughts on sitting quietly in the presence of others, Irene. I plan on joining you on Friday for your presentation. It is directly after the Wonder Round Table session so I might be late. Gather is a fitting word for your charitable fundraising-wordless books for children.

  4. Oh, I so look forward to your session. Love to you. x


Your thoughts?