Toys abound in our home. Dolls, trucks, stuffed animals, games, DVDs and every possible contraption that makes noise came with the kids. But stories are what bring solace to Katrena, particularly books. They provide her with an avenue of escape and feed her imagination.
One book series in particular has become to Katrena what Piggy is to her brother. The main character, Éclair, comes alive as a precocious seven-year-old girl. She and her two-year-old sister, Meggie must go to live with their eccentric grandmother, Stella, while their mother is getting treatment for an illness and their father travels for work.
The books were written by Michelle Weidenbenner, a talented author who was raised two of her grandchildren for a while. She sent the first two books in the series, Éclair Meets Stella and Éclair Meets a Gypsy, to Katrena in time for Christmas last year. Katrena opened the book, began to read and was instantly captivated. She ignored her other Christmas presents while she drank in the story. The similarities in their stories are remarkable. Éclair and Meggie were the same age as Katrena and Isaac when they were displaced. Éclair’s persistent attempts to fix her parent’s problems and reunite the family echoes the desire of Katrena’s heart. The books, like Isaac’s piggy, are getting worn and dog-eared. I’ve found Katrena awake and reading them at four in the morning because, “I fell asleep while I was reading and now I just need to get to the end of the chapter.”
These books have been a blessing to me as well because it helps me get inside Katrena’s and Isaac’s head and understand what they may be feeling. Although I don’t have maroon-colored hair and I haven’t painted our barn pink, like Stella, I can identify with her.
At the end of this past year, Michelle published the third book in the series, Éclair Goes Geocaching. Katrena and I had the honor of pre-reading it and sending Michelle a critique of the book. We both absolutely loved it and a bit of Katrena’s critique was printed on the back cover.
She was so excited to see her name in print she announced to our houseful of guests at the time, “I’m famous. I want everybody’s autograph.” She passed around the paper, and received many “autographs” with words of encouragement.
Now she wants to write a book of her own. She certainly has many life experiences and lots to say. We’ll let you know when it goes to print. In the meantime, she is enjoying these books and looking forward to book four, Éclair in the Show Ring.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you for Michelle and the many other talented writers willingly share their hearts and experiences–whose words encourage and give solace to the wounded and those caring for them.