For the Mother Within Us

A few years ago, I sent a copy of this little book to a dear friend’s daughter when she became a mother.  I liked it so much I ordered a second one possibly to keep, possibly to give again. I tucked it away for safe keeping and as so often happens, I just came across it.

The drawings are a bit more twee than I remember, but the quotes still ring true and beautiful. Editors Natasha Tabori Fried and Lena Tabori include blessings from every land and culture — Ireland, Egypt, China and Native American traditions. There is advice from Dr. Seuss and Antoine de St. Exupery and wisdom from Ecclesiastes, Euripides, and e. e. cummings. Among the blessings from various religions I was pleased to see some of my favorite Jewish blessings, including one known as the Traveler’s Prayer. Covid kind of put that one on ice, but soon… How fun it must have been for the mother-daughter editors to create the book together, organizing their finds into blessings for mealtime, nature, weddings and of course motherhood, to mention a few.

Mother’s Day has come and gone. A Mother’s Book of Blessings is a sweet one to enjoy year-round and to gift to a new mother. Or an old one if you are still so blessed!

 

T’filat HaDerech, the Traveler’s Prayer (complete text)

May it be Your will, Lord, our God and the God of our ancestors, that You lead us toward peace, guide our footsteps toward peace, and make us reach our desired destination for life, gladness, and peace. May You rescue us from the hand of every foe, ambush along the way, and from all manner of punishments that assemble to come to earth. May You send blessing in our handiwork, and grant us grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us. May You hear the sound of our humble request because You are God Who hears prayer requests. Blessed are You, Lord, Who hears prayer.

 

Children’s Books — Not Just For Kids

IMHO, no personal library can be complete without at lease one shelf of children’s picture books. Children’s books, good ones anyway, are works of art for the eye and the soul.

 A children’s picture book author must distill deep human questions into the fewest words possible. The illustrator must render universal emotions and experiences into artwork that enhances the text while not overpowering it.

 For years I collected children’s picture books to read with the grandchildren I hoped I might have one day. Now that I do, it’s not only a delight to share my treasures but I discover new treasures each time I visit.  Here are my three most recent finds:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I adore Joyce Hesselberth. Her artwork is charming and in pitter pattern her illustrations were ingenious invitations to discover patterns page after page.

Anthony Browne is a new one for me. Any reader can identify with Browne’s eponymous Willy the Dreamer, who envisions himself as an actor, a painter, a scuba diver.  Browne’s artwork is a trifecta of cleverness. There bunches of hidden bananas, visual puns and
best of all for the art-wise adult, homages to Magritte, Dali and Henri Rousseau among others.

I didn’t get to spend enough time with Oliver Jeffers and the book he wrote for his newborn son. Here We Are, Notes for Living on the Planet Earth. Jeffers’ illustrations become increasingly complex as he moves from the Earth’s atompshere and the solar system and weather systems to life here on earth. These are the kinds of illustrations that take time to enjoy, the kinds that reward the reader the more carefully and deeply she explores the pages. This two-page spread of humanity entranced me as much as it did Olivia. After this most recent visit with Olivia, dedicating another shelf in my office to chidren’s picture boks just might be in order.