My Childhood Hero

AS SPRING BEGINS TO STIR here in the North, as snow melts and streams awaken, as we anticipate blooming wildflowers and budding trees, my thoughts often turn to my childhood hero, my grandad. I remember walks taken and lessons learned. And I recall simple, private times spent together. Of all the 39 books I’ve written, perhaps my favorite is ‘Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth.’

“When I was little, my Grandad was my best friend. Being with him always made the world seem just right. Grandad and I liked to go for walks in the woods together. We didn’t walk very far. Or very fast. Or very straight. While we walked, I would ask him questions about things I wasn’t sure of. ‘Why is it, Grandad…?’ I would ask. And ‘What if…?’ And ‘Does it ever…?’

One day I asked my Grandad about prayers.”

And thus begins a journey of the heart, in which Grandad explains that trees pray. “They reach and reach—for sun and moon and clouds and stars. And what else is reaching for Heaven but a prayer?” As we continue our walk, he tells me that rocks pray, too. And flowers and streams and birds and animals. Each in their own way. And people, too, of course.

The little boy—me—doesn’t really understand. Nor can he hear the prayers Grandad tells him about. But one day—years later—he does. And finds his Grandad walking with him once more, in the presence of trees, and rocks, and flowers.

Winner of the Christopher Medal in 1999, this simple story remains my best explanation of the world of spirit, and the powerful influence of a loving mentor. And in the Spring, I remember still. And once more walk the woods with my Grandad.

(Signed, personalized copies ‘Grandad’s Prayers’ and all my books are available at the store at )

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