So, I’m hardly a saint for buying two books for Flying Horse Farms today, and I don’t need a round of applause for doing so. But this post is my attempt to try to convince you to do the same. Hey, if you’ve got a blog and a barbaric yawp for the world, you’ve got a rooftop on which to scream your yawp, so why not use it for something good?
Flying Horse Farms is a camp and year-round retreat center for children with serious illnesses and their families. It’s an Ohio-based 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and working to become a member of Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Camps, the world’s largest family of camps for children with serious illnesses. I got that from this post at author Sara Lewis Holmes’ blog, Read Write Believe. In that post, she announced that she has started a library of camp- and horse-related books for the organization. Sara’s own niece has been battling cancer for two years now. Sara talked with the director of the camp, and they decided that it would be great to have books about horses (non-fiction and fiction-books-about-horses) available at several spots around the camp—the stables, the craft room, the main activity hall, the cabins, the dining hall, etc.
The books that immediately came to my mind to donate to the camp (though please note that Sara set up a camp wish list via Amazon) are the two Susan Jeffers’ books pictured here — more for the young end of the camper spectrum (Sara says the camp serves children aged 7 to 15). Since arts & crafts is one camp activity, I think My Pony (published in 2003 by Hyperion) is just right — the story of a young girl who desperately wants a pony but whose parents can’t quite provide her one. Taking matters into her own hands, she creates one of her own. “I call her Silver. She has dapples and a shiny coat. When I draw her, it is as if she comes alive,” she tells us, as she’s painting her horse. In her imagination, she even takes night-time rides through the stars with Silver. It’s a seriously beautiful book, one of those tributes to the power of a child’s imagination that gives me shivers when I read it. My Chincoteague Pony, also by Jeffers and published this year by Hyperion, tells the story of young Julie, who works hard to save money to buy a pony of her own at the yearly pony auction on Virginia’s Chincoteague Island (an auction of ponies who have swum across the channel from Assateague Island, where ponies run free). When she sees she doesn’t have enough money to purchase a pony after all, the townspeople contribute their own money to make it possible, much to her surprise and delight. Julie vows to work just as hard next year so that she can help another child do the same.
Right. Back to me trying to convince you to donate, too. I’ve never even had the honor of meeting Sara’s niece, nor had I ever heard of Flying Horse Farms ’til now. So, why would I—or you—want to donate?
1). This public service announcement from the camp, which will prove to you the seven kinds of awesomeness which it seems this organization is.
2). Because it’s really fun to talk about the book(s) you choose to donate and why, as I did above.
3). Wait! If money’s tight right now, as it is for many, you don’t even have to spend to help out. You can also, as Sara writes here, blog about your favorite camp or horse-related book. She’ll round up those posts at Read Write Believe and even forward them to the director of the camp. They’ll then expand that Amazon wish list. Little Willow demonstrates here.
4). Because it’s a way to give back.
5). Because of my gratitude for the health of my own four-year-old — yet the knowledge that one day she could be ill and would need great literature to keep her mind off of needles, too.
6). Because of my gratitude for the health of my own three-year-old — yet the knowledge that one day she could be ill and would need great literature to keep her mind off of needles, too.
7). Because, as Adrienne noted, “books are a comfort one can turn to no matter what their circumstances, and children should always have plenty of books around, just as a general rule.”
For all the information you need, again, here’s where to read.