Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

He ain't heavy, he's my brother

Some time ago, I was asked if my kids mind being the subject of  my blog posts. The truth is quite the opposite. They keep tabs and object only when they feel they've been underrepresented (or, more accurately, if someone else has been overrepresented). I think I always knew that and respect them enough to keep the truly private material private so I have never had any reservations about sharing their antics in this way and have yet to be accused of misrepresenting anyone. Nobody has even been upset about disproportionate representation lately so I've been feeling pretty good about the balanced way I've handled this blog. Until today. Would you believe that today's objection came not from one of my kids but, rather, from one of my brothers?! He felt the need to call my attention to the fact that our other brother has been mentioned in 2 of the last 4 blog posts and he has not. The objection came by way of an email entitled "Unfair". OMG! I know he was only partly joking. Ahhhhh... sibling rivalry!

In fairness, let me tell you a little bit about my underrepresented brother. He's a great guy, a great father, a loyal football fan, a genius, a fabulous uncle to his nieces, the first and best hypochondriac I ever knew, and the kid who, growing up, was determined to develop many varied interests. He played hockey and rode a bike and went to camp and learned to cook beef bourguignon and had a great vocabulary, particularly when it came to describing his various ailments (he was the only 6 year old I knew that used words like "contusion", "laceration" and "hematoma"). He was a huge Beatles fan and was determined to unlock the musical magic within himself. For a short time, he had dreams of starting a band of his own. He pounded on drums for a while and then turned his focus to violin. Oy!

Today's book is selected in honor of my darling brother. Zebrafish, a 5th-6th Grade Book of the Year finalist for the 2011 Children's Choice Book Awards is the story of Vita Escolar who starts a rock band with bandmates who don't actually play instruments. Yet, they evolve as a group and grow as a community. Their individual stories are compelling. We learn that one of the bandmates has leukemia. The band, Zebrafish, holds a fundraising concert to help her hospital get the medical equipment it needs.The book happens to be partly sponsored by Generation Cures of Children's Hospital Boston, a philanthropic movement that teaches tweens to use their powers for good. Some of the proceeds from this book go to fund research for the hospital.

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