You guys, I never wrote about West with Giraffes.
And that’s not good because it was a good one.
It took me back to 1938 at the end of the depression in the “Dust Bowl” where this darling kid is trying to get his bearings straight, left an orphan in the world and never treated well by anyone.
He somehow finds his way, through all kinds of adventures, into an adventure that involves transporting giraffes, wounded in a hurricane getting across the ocean of all things, all the way across the U.S. to the San Diego Zoo.
It sounds like a pretty crazy adventure, right?
And I loved it.
I always think it is so incredible how some people just come with seeds of kindness and goodness inside, and even when the world seems to chew them up and spit them out, they emerge triumphantly.
Makes me teary in fact.
I fell in love with all the characters. The boy, “Woody Nickel,” is matched up with an unlikely partner who is gruff around the edges but with such a soft heart. Made me want to be better.
And to realize that even small acts of kindness go so far.
And also that “it is a foolish man who think stories don’t matter, when in the end they may be the only things that do.”
Last night I just finished The Girl with the Louding Voice.
And it’s so strange because as I sit here writing, I realize although such a different book, based on the story of a girl born into pretty horrific conditions in Nigeria, Africa, that one-person-kindness making a mountain of difference in the life of a young girl is so similar to West with Giraffes.
In this one, this teenage girl, Adunni, has a dream of getting an education.
She, like Woody Nickel, faces a series of misfortunes but somehow keeps her heart soft and her will strong, loving and forgiving even those who push her down.
And some small kindnesses end up leading her on a path where she is able to find her “louding voice” through the messiness of it all.
It is a beautiful story, perhaps made more beautiful by the narrator (I listened to this on audible), with her African accent.
I loved that it took me into into Nairobi and taught me so much about the power of the human spirit.
Both taught me so much about the beauty of grit.
Do I have it? Do my children? What can we do to gain more?
I love thinking through these types of questions.
Hope those two books can maybe give an idea for some good weekend reading.