Monday, March 14, 2011
The miracle of family
Twelve and a half years ago, my twin daughters were born. They were born two months premature and had several serious health and developmental issues for their first several years of life. Their stubborn determination and will to succeed were evident from the very start, though, and over time we have witnessed them take on each obstacle in their path and forge ahead. They have amazed us over and over again - exceeding all expectations and constantly finding new ways to make us proud. This past weekend, they outdid themselves. They were called to read from the Torah as b'not mitzvah (the female plural of bat mitzvah).They were brilliant and beautiful. Over the course of a weekend full of events, they made several speeches, they sang, they danced, they ate and they were spectacular. The warmth and deep connections they feel toward each other and to family and friends was palpable every step of the way. The way they connect with other people is one of things I love most about them both. There was so much love in each room, at each event (Friday night dinner, Saturday morning synagogue service, Saturday night party and Sunday brunch). I have never been more proud to be their mom. I have never been more aware and grateful of the fact that miracles happen.
As my family's joyous celebration comes to a close, life at work is picking up speed. Voting for the Children's Choice Book Awards opened today at BookWeekOnline.com. This awards program is the only national book awards program where the finalists and winners are selected by children and teens. My team and I created this program four years ago. The excitement begins to build as we get ready to open voting and then explodes when voting opens. Voting will continue through April 29. The winners will be announced at a gala evening on May 2, during Children's Book Week, May 2-8. The host of this year's gala is the amazing Jarrett J. Krosoczka, the creator of the Lunch Lady books and Punk Farm. Jarrett's Lunch Lady 4 is also a finalist in the 3rd-4th Grade Book of the year category. Jarrett has been reaching out far and wide to spread the word. We couldn't have asked for a better host. The goal this year is 500,000 votes so grab the kid in your life, experience books together and encourage them to vote (click here to get to the voting site).
In honor of the Children's Choice Book Awards, every blog post going forward will end by referring you to a different finalist until I've covered them all. There are 30 all together and it should be interesting to try and link the book themes to the mommy topics I focus on in the first part of each post. Inspired by my daughters, I'm up for the challenge. Inspired by their dedication to family and the fact that they asked their friends to donate in their honor to the Animal Cancer Foundation in lieu of buying them bat mitzvah gifts, the very first finalist covered on this blog is Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby. A piglet named Pink is adopted by a dachshund named Tink as one of her pups. True story! At the risk of incurring the wrath of my oldest daughter who has forbidden me from using the following expression - OMG! This book is sheer delight. The story and photographs are compelling and both you and your child will want to read it over and over again. It's a finalist for K-2nd Grade Book of the Year. You can read the book online by clicking here. And remember to encourage every child you know to vote at BookWeekOnline.com.