One of the best picture books I have read, this tells the story of a child being forced to grow up but stay unique.
44. . . . And She Sparkled by Joan Steffend
Browsing in a cute little shop, I saw this book on the shelf. For some reason, the plush front with a simplistic but mesmorizing silver design appealed to me. The connection to my life was instant as I read the picture book. Right then, I was in residential treatment and struggling to want recovery. Staying a safe child or sick patient seemed much better than growing up in a frightening and uncertain world. Thus, this book played an important role in reminding me of who I was under all of my pain and healing that inner child. It might be a picture book, but . . . And She Sparkled has a deep message about recovery.
Synopsis: This book tells the story of a little girl who sparkles. Joy follows her as she brings beauty and light into the world. Each day, she dreams of the next one with excitement and anticipation. However, her dance falters as difficulties begin to come into her innocent life. Others start telling her to be quieter, more sensible, and less childish. In an attempt to be good, she locks up the sparkle inside of her and hides it from the world. Darkness increases as she struggles to live each day the way people say she should. The sparkle waits inside, hoping to shine once again.
My parents never pressured my sisters or me to write New Year’s resolutions. Thus, despite my love of goals and lists, this tradition has never been part of my life. Listening to other people rattle off their desire to lose weight, exercise more, stop eating certain foods, etc. filled me with embarrassment and guilt. How come I was the only one unwilling to change for the better? Was I too proud to see my own failings? Did I constantly overlook my weaknesses and refuse to address my mistakes? Sometimes, I tried to whip up a quick list of things I wanted in the coming year, but usually I just shuffled my feet and mumbled excuses for not participating in this activity. Only a selfish, lazy, immature person would refuse to make a New Year’s resolution, right?
In treatment for my eating disorder, I celebrated the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012. Last year, the hospital staff heralded in the New Year with me. Both times, health providers encouraged patients to choose a word for the coming year instead of making resolutions. In their opinions, this would not fill a person with guilt but motivate living with a purpose.