Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Gift: 14 COWS FOR AMERICA

The phone was ringing when I returned from a walk on that sunny day. It was my Dad, weeping as he told me about the first tower falling.

We didn't have a television so I ran to my neighbor's and watched in horror as the second tower fell. Later that day, like so many of us, I sought solace during a prayer vigil at church.

As we remember how we longed for comfort and community eight years ago, I'd like to offer my Fire Escape visitors the gift of 14 COWS FOR AMERICA, a new picture book by Carmen Agra Deedy and Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah.

Besty Bird reviewed the book recently on her School Library Journal blog, and provides a superb roundup of other coverage on the book, and Meghan Cox Gurdon encapsulated the story well at the Wall Street Journal:
As the tribe gathers under an acacia tree, Kimeli describes the horror that struck so far away: “With growing disbelief, men, women, and children listen. Buildings so tall they can touch the sky? Fires so hot they can melt iron?”

... The ­villagers request a visit from the American ambassador, who duly comes and is stunned to be met by hundreds of Maasai “in full tribal splendor,” with ­scarlet tunics and majestic beaded collars—and their unexpected gift (of 14 ­“sacred and healing” cows.)

The final pages show the grave face of a young tribesman. Reflected in his pupil we see the book’s only image of the burning Twin Towers; beside him we read (possibly through tears) the ­concluding words: “Because there is no nation so powerful it cannot be wounded, nor a people so small that they cannot offer mighty comfort.”
I've experienced the hospitality of the Maasai people firsthand (that's me to the left in the photo), so this book is especially dear.

Peachtree is offering three copies of 14 COWS FOR AMERICA as a gift of remembrance today. For the rest of the day and through this weekend, drop a comment below and we'll put your name in a hat to see who gets them. Here's the book trailer:

16 comments:

sjohn said...

What amazing images...what a powerful message of compassion and selflessness, a reminder that the world mourned with us that day. We still need to be reminded there are stories of hope and true love that came out of that day eight years a go. I can't wait to read it and to share it with my children!

Stacey said...

I just wrote about this on Two Writing Teachers a week ago. (I focused on the power of three that is found in the text as an element of author's craft, but also suggested that it could be used for the commemoration of this sacred day.

I'm delighted to see other people recognizing this fantastic text too!

kristin cashore said...

Thanks for this post, Mitali. I'll look for this book.

Jon Pritt said...

Looks like a great book. I will look for it as well.

Christine M said...

That looks like such an amazing book. Thanks for posting about it.

Stacy Dillon said...

I cannot wait to read this. I will always remember the kindness of new colleagues walking over the Manhattan Bridge, into Brooklyn. Papers were falling out of the air in Park Slope and we said, it must be something else...there must be a fire here. Pages from binders cannot be falling in Brooklyn from the WTC.

booktumbling said...

Please sign me up for the giveaway. Seems like a wonderful book!

Rebecca Reid said...

I would love to be entered to win this book! It looks beautiful and sounds very powerful!

My email in my blogger profile.

Anonymous said...

I have read sever reviews of this book and would be very priviledge to own one. Please enter my name in the contest.Thanks
Penny hulldotmargaretatoclsdotcom

Anonymous said...

And just what did the American ambassador do with the cows...?

drbgilliesathotmaildotcom

The Brain Lair (KB) said...

A great book to add to our library! I cant wait to pick it up.

queencindy1208 said...

WOW...if I win this book or not it will be in my library...I love Carmen Agra Deedy:)!

Sarah said...

Wow, that is a moving story. Thanks for the heads-up and the opportunity.

debbieduncan said...

I plan to buy a copy of this lovely book at Books Inc., but I would love another to give away. Thanks for spreading the word about it.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

What a wonderful story. Thanks for posting this. I'd love to win a copy!

Sharon Creech said...

Just ordered this book; look forward to its arrival. Thanks for putting out the word.