Today my family and I were eating lunch at a restaurant. Seated next to us (in very close proximity) was a table full of Japanese people who were all speaking in their native tongue. I asked my nine-year-old to scoot over next to them to make more room for her Dad. She looked at me with huge, scared eyes and said, “I don’t want to sit next to them!” It was a strange reaction, and upon further questioning, I found out that it was because they were different (foreign, unusual sounding, etc.) I searched in my mind for a connection to help her not be so afraid of the unknown and realized that it was in my book that she had just read (Jake Bowers Versus the Firebird).
I said, “Just think of them as Hillary and Seiya” (a sister and brother from the novel who are Japanese-American). She looked at them for a moment and got a wide grin on her face. I was amazed at how that little connection made them less foreign in her mind.
I love other cultures and that love just sort of seeped into the pages of that book. Books can connect us or they can divide us. What a blessing it was today to see those characters help the heart of my girl look toward others with joy rather than fear.