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Hello World! By Kelly Corrigan and Stacy Ebert

“If you look for the bad in people, expecting to find it, you surely will.” Abraham Lincoln. I remember discussing this quote with my mom, after I’d heard it on one of my favorite childhood movies, Pollyanna. Hardly anyone in the town of Harrington cared to attend Sunday service as the minister was sure to preach death and damnation to his congregation week after week, in the name of saving their accursed souls. After four years among them, and after dwelling on Lincoln’s quote, the minister realized he didn’t know his flock. The story ends with a little consideration, grace and love towards others that ultimately augurs in the best gift to self; the opportunity to learn from, enjoy, love and be loved by others.

Corrigan and Ebert reverberate this theme in Hello World! As we journey through life, we don’t know exactly what we’ll find, but we can be absolutely sure that we will find people; lots of them, characters with whom we’ve had experience, and others that we couldn’t dream up. For example, a belching ballerina! Love it Stacy Ebert! Our experiences, our cultures, hear-say, presuppositions, social heuristics… You name it. These elements dictate, and at the least inform, how we view and treat each other. What if we dared to allow ourselves to believe, and act on the premise that there’s more to everyone than [we] think? We would be awestruck at what we might discover. The next question follows. As Corrigan writes, “how will you know?” Well, “You’ll ask!” The questions you’re asking aren’t difficult. They’re unadulterated, honest questions whose sole purpose is to build strong, positive relationships with others. Our connections to others are the sources of our strength and health. So, as Corrigan notes, “Be Brave!” Give yourself the gift of a lifetime, by giving others a chance.

What a wonderful lesson for everyone. I can’t wait to read this to my class at the end of the year. If you’re looking for a meaningful grad gift, add this book. There’s even room on the end pages for you to add your very own words of wisdom or thoughtful question. Corrigan and Ebert, thanks for sharing. I hope this is the first of many stories you’ll write for children.

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