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Tag Archives | Nikki Grimes

Mélina Mangal

Melina Mangal's Self on the Shelf

Méli­na Man­gal’s Self on the Shelf

I looked on my shelves, won­der­ing which books to high­light. I have sev­er­al shelves, scat­tered around the house. Though I am a school librar­i­an, my home shelves are quite flu­id, as in, they’re not strict­ly orga­nized. Books are loose­ly grouped by for­mat and size, some­times by genre. I real­ly don’t have that  many books (I love to vis­it the library!), so I love to poke around the shelves when I have a chance. I wel­come serendipity.

I can’t find some of the books I thought I still had. Did I loan that one out? Did I leave it at school for a read-aloud? Though I love dust jack­ets, many of my books are miss­ing theirs. I enjoy mak­ing posters fea­tur­ing the cov­ers of these beau­ti­ful books.

A few books leapt out at me, espe­cial­ly those that have trav­eled with me through­out the years and miles, as I’ve relo­cat­ed many times. The oth­ers were dif­fi­cult to select. How to choose only a few, when so many books hold sig­nif­i­cance or have influ­enced me in deep ways?

In the end, I chose books that res­onate the most with me, in the order in which I first obtained or read them.

Bécas­sine has been with me the longest. Writ­ten by Caumery (Mau­rice Languereau) and illus­trat­ed by J.P. Pin­chon, it was first pub­lished in 1919. I have a 1970’s edi­tion, giv­en to me by my grand­mère when I was a kid. Though I couldn’t read French for many years, I loved brows­ing the pages of one of the ear­li­est illus­trat­ed pre­cur­sors to the bande dess­inées, or com­ic style of book art. I can now read the text and still enjoy the intri­cate details of the illus­tra­tions, but what I’ve always loved best? The binding.

I could not pho­to­graph Bécas­sine in a stack with oth­er books because the title would not have been evi­dent. With a cloth bind­ing, I’ve always loved hold­ing this book. It has always felt sub­stan­tial, and spe­cial. For me, read­ing books has always been a tac­tile expe­ri­ence. No doubt Bécas­sine helped influ­ence this pref­er­ence for well made books.

Jacques Rogy and the Lit­tle Detec­tives by Pierre Lam­blin and  The Dream Keep­er and oth­er Poems by Langston Hugh­es rep­re­sent the awak­en­ing to read­ing as a ris­ing sixth-grad­er. When my fam­i­ly moved from a small town to what we con­sid­ered the big city, I didn’t yet know any oth­er kids. My sib­lings and I would walk to the library. Though I had been a fine read­er before then, it was the pub­lic library’s sum­mer read­ing pro­gram that real­ly turned into a Read­er. The Lex­ing­ton Branch library had such an array of books — books by and about peo­ple who looked like me.

That’s when I learned of Langston Hugh­es. Giv­en to me years lat­er by a fam­i­ly friend, The Dream Keep­er repro­duces the orig­i­nal 1932 edi­tion with an intro­duc­tion by leg­endary librar­i­an and sto­ry­teller Augus­ta Bak­er, who was a friend of Langston Hugh­es. I remem­ber feel­ing torn when I received the book. I love many of the poems and the fact that this was the only book of poet­ry for chil­dren writ­ten by Langston Hugh­es. But I was also struck by the illus­tra­tions of Helen Sewell. Some are beau­ti­ful and some offen­sive. I keep it as a reminder because it rep­re­sents so much — his­to­ry, poet­ry, priv­i­lege, image, and the kind­ness of a gift.

Jacques Rogy and the Lit­tle Detec­tives by Pierre Lam­blin was a book I read dur­ing that sixth grade sum­mer as well. It was full of sus­pense and adven­ture. I want­ed to be part of the band of boys that found the stolen art. I loved the set­ting in France, com­plete with sin­is­ter château, in this non-for­mu­la­ic mystery.

The Jour­ney Home by Yoshiko Uchi­da made a pow­er­ful impres­sion on me. Though I also felt strong­ly about Jour­ney to Topaz, the first book fea­tur­ing Yuki and her fam­i­ly, Jour­ney Home felt more intense. I appre­ci­at­ed the way Yoshiko Uchi­da con­front­ed the dif­fi­cult issues sur­round­ing the intern­ment of Japan­ese fam­i­lies dur­ing World War II. The Jour­ney Home deep­ened by fond­ness for his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, the best of which trans­ports you to anoth­er time and place, giv­ing lit­tle known peo­ple a face.

I loved read­ing the var­ied sto­ries in The Peo­ple Could Fly: Amer­i­can Black Folk­tales told by Vir­ginia Hamil­ton and illus­trat­ed by Leo and Diane Dil­lon. There’s such a range of sto­ries, from ani­mal tales to ghost sto­ries, and the most hard-hit­ting ones: the free­dom tales of slaves. I laughed with some of the char­ac­ters, cried with oth­ers, and cheered with the rest. These sto­ries high­light­ed our deep cul­tur­al con­nec­tions to Africa I hadn’t seen in children’s books before.

The Peo­ple Could Fly, along with Vir­ginia Hamilton’s oth­er amaz­ing books, led to my first pub­li­ca­tion. After read­ing the many books she wrote, I was sur­prised that there wasn’t a children’s book about her life. So I decid­ed to write one. Vir­ginia Hamil­ton became my first book.

Roll of Thun­der, Hear My Cry by Mil­dred Tay­lor was anoth­er his­tor­i­cal fic­tion book that touched me deeply. Cassie Logan and her fam­i­ly cap­ti­vat­ed me from the start. Details of life in small town Mis­sis­sip­pi, where my father’s fam­i­ly is from, infu­ri­at­ed me. But the depic­tion of how the Logan fam­i­ly dealt with the ter­ror and trau­ma of every day life in the depres­sion era South also filled me with a sense of pride. They mod­eled strength, courage, and com­pas­sion in the face of immense adver­si­ty, like so many of my ancestors.

Because of Mil­dred Taylor’s Mis­sis­sip­pi con­nec­tion, I felt com­pelled to find out more. Her path to pub­lish­ing intrigued me as well, and led me to write a biog­ra­phy about her for young readers.

The House on Man­go Street by San­dra Cis­neros pierced through the noise in my life when I first read it. Clear, con­cise, can­did — often beau­ti­ful and heart­break­ing at the same time. Like Vir­ginia Hamilton’s work, I mar­veled at San­dra Cis­neros’ use of lan­guage and word choic­es. Her vignettes are spare and full at the same time. I could hear and see life as Esper­an­za did, and feel the inten­si­ty of her emo­tions as if they were my own.

Talkin’ About Bessie by Nik­ki Grimes, illus­trat­ed by E.B. Lewis com­bines my favorite gen­res: poet­ry, his­tor­i­cal fic­tion, and biog­ra­phy, into a beau­ti­ful pic­ture book for­mat. Pre­sent­ing mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives through peo­ple who would have known her best, Nik­ki Grimes high­lights the life of trail­blaz­ing avi­a­tor Bessie Cole­man. I love how this book shows us that for every ‘famous’ per­son, there are con­stel­la­tions of peo­ple behind them, influ­enc­ing and supporting. 

Round­ing out my choic­es with his­tor­i­cal fic­tion set in 1968 Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia, One Crazy Sum­mer by Rita Williams-Gar­cia is one of my ‘new­er’ favorites. Though Rita Williams-Garcia’s ear­li­er YA books first struck a chord in me, I love Del­phine and her younger sis­ters, in this first book of the Gaither Sis­ters trilogy.

Like most of Rita Williams-Garcia’s char­ac­ters, Del­phine, Vonet­ta, and Fern, jump off the page and into your room. They are real kids, with earnest and com­plex feel­ings about all that’s hap­pen­ing in their lives. And, like kids every­where, they bring humor and joy to the adults in their lives, includ­ing their moth­er, Cecile, whom they are just get­ting to know.

I still mar­vel at Rita Williams-Garcia’s abil­i­ty to breathe life into her char­ac­ters, cre­at­ing such vivid, ful­ly-fleshed and intrigu­ing per­son­al­i­ties that I would love to meet in per­son. One Crazy Sum­mer reminds me of when I actu­al­ly met Rita Williams-Gar­cia, and had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to lis­ten and learn from her. Her sto­ries con­tin­ue to pro­pel me forward.

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Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

Bedtime for Sweet CreaturesSuch a charm­ing book! From Nik­ki Grimes, we hear the sto­ry of a young boy stalling his bed­time, all the while col­lect­ing a menagerie of imag­i­nary crea­tures. This is a child who has well-prac­ticed ploys for avoid­ing bed­time. His par­ents respond with play­ful­ness and good humor. Mom and dad are patient but, final­ly, the child is too sleepy to stay awake.

Eliz­a­beth Zunon’s imag­i­na­tion-fueled crea­tures are vivid­ly pat­terned, cre­at­ing cap­ti­vat­ing images of a lion, a bear, a snake, an owl … just right for nam­ing out loud.

Nikki Grimes' Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

The blend of Grimes’ smile-induc­ing accu­ra­cy about bed­time rit­u­als and Zunon’s exu­ber­ant ani­mals cre­ates a book that par­ent and child will glad­ly read each night. It’s fun!

Bed­time for Sweet Creatures
writ­ten by Nik­ki Grimes
illus­trat­ed by Eliz­a­beth Zunon
Source­books Jab­ber­wocky, 2020
ISBN 978 – 1492638322

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Poetry Books That Celebrate
African American History and Culture

Poet­ry and the spo­ken word have promi­nent places in African Amer­i­can cul­ture, due at least in part to a strong oral tra­di­tion that has been passed down through gen­er­a­tions. Con­sid­er includ­ing poems from the books below in your read-alouds this month, and the year ahead, as a way to high­light the con­tri­bu­tions of African Amer­i­cans to our nation’s his­to­ry and cul­ture. These pic­ture books offer options for intro­duc­ing your audi­ences (of any age) to the works of some out­stand­ing African Amer­i­can writ­ers and illustrators.

Brothers & Sisters Family Poems  

Broth­ers and Sis­ters: Fam­i­ly Poems
Writ­ten by Eloise Greenfield
Illus­trat­ed by Jan Spivey Gilchrist
Harper­Collins Children’s Books, 2009

This book cel­e­brates the uni­ver­sal joys and chal­lenges of being a part of a fam­i­ly, includ­ing thoughts on rec­on­cil­ing griev­ances, get­ting along with old­er, younger, or step sib­lings, and being a twin. Just about every­one who has a broth­er or sis­ter can prob­a­bly find some­thing that res­onates with them among the poems in this book.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy  

Thir­teen Ways of Look­ing at a Black Boy
Writ­ten by Tony Medina
Illus­trat­ed by 13 dif­fer­ent artists
Pen­ny Can­dy Books, 2018

Tony Med­i­na wrote the poems in this book in tan­ka form, a kind of Japan­ese poem that starts out like haiku (three lines with five, sev­en, and five syl­la­bles respec­tive­ly) but then adds two more lines with sev­en syl­la­bles each. Kids will find many of the poems relat­able, with top­ics such as miss­ing the bus (“Athlete’s Broke Bus Blues”) and want­i­ng to be a rap star (“Givin’ Back to the Community”).

Pass It On  

Pass It On: African Amer­i­can Poet­ry for Children
Select­ed by Wade Hudson
Illus­trat­ed by Floyd Cooper
Scholas­tic Inc., 1993

This col­lec­tion includes beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed works by pro­lif­ic poets such as Langston Hugh­es, Gwen­dolyn Brooks, Nik­ki Gio­van­ni, Eloise Green­field, and Nik­ki Grimes. A theme of deter­mi­na­tion emerges from a num­ber of the selec­tions includ­ing: “I Can,” “Mid­way,” “The Dream Keep­er,” and “Lis­ten Children.”

Poems in the Attic

 

Poems in the Attic
Writ­ten by Nik­ki Grimes
Illus­trat­ed by Eliz­a­beth Zunon

For this book, Grimes drew on her own expe­ri­ence mov­ing fre­quent­ly as a child and rely­ing on writ­ing to help her cope. The book is a fic­tion­al account of a child who grew up with par­ents serv­ing in the U.S. mil­i­tary. Her poems in this pic­ture book remind us that although we can’t often choose our cir­cum­stances we can choose how we respond to them.

Seeing into Tomorrow  

See­ing into Tomor­row: Haiku by Richard Wright
Biog­ra­phy and illus­tra­tions by Nina Crews
Mill­brook Press, 2018

Select­ed from the thou­sands of haiku that Richard Wright wrote in his last years, these poems have uni­ver­sal appeal. Each is paired with a pho­to col­lage that helps read­ers visu­al­ize Wright’s mem­o­ries of grow­ing up in the rur­al South.

Words with Wings  

Words with Wings: 
A Trea­sury of African-Amer­i­can Poet­ry and Art
Select­ed by Belin­da Rochelle
Harper­Collins Pub­lish­ers, 2001

This stel­lar col­lec­tion con­tains twen­ty poems by well-known poets, each paired with a bold, endur­ing work by a visu­al artist. The poet­ry and art inspire the imag­i­na­tion as they cap­ture a vari­ety of expe­ri­ences shared by all peo­ple and allow the read­er to look at the world through the eyes of a num­ber of dif­fer­ent artists. Poems by a num­ber of children’s authors are fea­tured in this book as well as ones by authors such as Maya Angelou and Alice Walker.

 

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Perspective

Pippi LongstockingAt Bookol­o­gy, we believe the adage about “the right book for the right read­er.” Those are not nec­es­sar­i­ly the books that we see in adver­tise­ments, in the blog­gers’ buzz, or on award lists. Only by lis­ten­ing to each oth­er, and espe­cial­ly to kids, talk about books do we find those gems our hearts were look­ing for but didn’t know existed.

When you think about your favorite books, what’s your per­spec­tive? Do you remem­ber the sto­ry first? The char­ac­ters? The cov­er? The illustrations?

For many of us, it’s the book cov­er. Yes­ter­day, I was look­ing for books about cats. I want­ed to rec­om­mend some clas­sics. I remem­ber a book from the 1960s that had a boy and a cat on the cov­er. Both of them were fac­ing away from me, look­ing at a neigh­bor­hood. I remem­ber that the cov­er is yel­low. Do you know the book I’m talk­ing about? I asked Steve, because he fre­quent­ly talks about this book. When I described the cov­er, he knew right away: It’s Like This, Cat by Emi­ly Cheney Neville. (I’m not pub­lish­ing the cov­er here because I don’t want to give it away. Take a look at the bot­tom of this article.)

Often it’s the illus­tra­tions. Who can for­get the thick black out­lines of My Friend Rab­bit? Or the clear, bright col­ors of My Heart is Like a Zoo? Or the pen and ink draw­ings of Lois Lenski?

gr_myheart

Some­times it’s the char­ac­ters. The book with the spi­der and the pig. That one with the adven­tur­ous red-haired girl with pig­tails. That book where the high-school kids share their poet­ry in class. That auto­bi­og­ra­phy of the author grow­ing up in Cuba and the USA. Those char­ac­ters are so mem­o­rable that, once read, we can’t for­get them. (The book cov­ers are post­ed at the end of this article.)

When we’re meet­ing with the Chap­ter & Verse book club each month, the last half-hour is a time to rec­om­mend books we’ve enjoyed. I always add to my read­ing list. Do you have an inten­tion­al, set-aside time for talk­ing with oth­er adults about the children’s books they’re read­ing and are thrilled to rec­om­mend? I par­tic­u­lar­ly love it when they’re books that aren’t on the buzzers’ radar. I feel as though we’ve shared a secret.

Chapter & Verse Book Club, Redbery Books, Cable, Wisconsin

Chap­ter & Verse Book Club, Red­bery Books, Cable, Wisconsin

I also hunt through the state lists. These are books that edu­ca­tors and librar­i­ans are choos­ing because they know they have kid appeal. So often, these are not books that have been on award lists … but they’re passed along, buzzed about among child read­ers, rec­om­mend­ed by the adults in their lives.

State Choice Awards

Not all books need to be new. There are fab­u­lous books hid­ing on the library shelves and in used book­stores. Do a sub­ject search. It’s amaz­ing what you can find by look­ing at a library cat­a­log or doing an online search.

Everyone’s pub­lish­ing book­lists these days. How do you know which ones to fol­low? Do the titles res­onate with you? Do you find your­self eager­ly adding their sug­ges­tions to your TBR pile? Then book­mark those lists! Vis­it them fre­quent­ly or sign up to receive noti­fi­ca­tions when they pub­lish their next list.

The award books and books with stars are one way to find good books but don’t rely sole­ly on those sources. Don’t for­get the wealth of fab­u­lous books that fly under the radar.

Talk to each oth­er. Adult to adult. Child to adult. Child to child. Adult to child. Old or new. Hid­den trea­sure or best­seller. We learn about the best books when we hear rec­om­men­da­tions from anoth­er read­er, anoth­er perspective.

books described in the article

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Nikki Grimes: Researching and Writing Chasing Freedom

Inter­view by Vic­ki Palmquist

Chasing FreedomChas­ing Free­dom
writ­ten by Nik­ki Grimes
illus­trat­ed by Michelle Wood
Orchard Books, 2014

Did you know more about one of your two characters when you conceived of the book?

 Yes. I knew a fair amount about Harriet Tubman. Hers was one of the few stories about African Americans brought out every year during what, in my youth, was called Negro History Month. I was far less familiar with the details of the life of Susan B. Anthony, though I certainly had a passing knowledge of her place in history.

How did you decide there was a story to be told about these two women? Together?

 In 1988, I was asked to develop dramatic monologues on an assortment of historical figures for a stage production to be done in China later that year. I chose Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, and Frederick Douglass as my subjects. In the process of researching them individually, I learned that they were all contemporaries, and that their paths frequently crossed one another's. The fact that these historical powerhouses knew one another was exciting, and led me to believe that many new stories were possible, but especially between these two women.

You wrote Chasing Freedom in prose rather than verse, as a fictional story, rather than nonfiction. What led you in those directions for this narrative?

ph_Grimes_3The idea for this book began with the quintessential literary question "What if?" In this case, the question was, "What if Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony sat down together for a long conversation? What would that conversation be like?" The germ of the idea was based on something that, to my knowledge, never actually occurred, so while historical facts shape the bulk of the narrative, the fictional aspect of the conversation itself dictated that this story would be a work of historical fiction. As for the choice of prose, that was dictated by the overwhelming amount of historical material and detail I wished to include in the piece. Poetry would not have given me the room I needed, nor would it have allowed me to work in as many quotes from the subjects, themselves. As it is, the brevity of the picture book format, itself, required a constant paring down of the manuscript. Oh, the stories left untold for lack of space!

When you were collecting quotes from the two women, how did you record them? (e.g., on paper, in the computer, on note cards) What type of notation did you make? How did you organize the quotes so you could find them again?

I made the bulk of my notations on yellow lined pads, in spiral notebooks, and in assorted journals. For the record, I always write in longhand, whether the work is historically based or not. In any case, I did not keep quotations separate from other notes. When I was ready to move from research to writing, I read back through my notes, and marked quotations with colored post-it notes so that I could find them as I needed to.

ph_Grimes_1

 Did you include travel in your research? Which sites did you find most useful?

 The story is set against the backdrop of the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, and the early suffrage movement. As such, I began research with a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio to explore the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, there. I also spent time in Cincinnati's main library, which houses one of the best collections of literature related to the Underground Railroad, as well as substantial material by and about Susan B. Anthony. Afterwards, I visited Ripley, OH where several homes on the Underground Railroad have been preserved. The library in Ripley was a worthwhile stop, as well.  I developed my list of reference materials as a result of visiting these sites, but more than that, they put me in the frame of mind to dig deeper into the life stories of these two women.

Are you able to soak up "the vibes" of a visited site in a way that informs your writing?

Always. In this case, the experiences with the greatest impact were two. First, stepping into the reconstructed slave pen, shackles in full view, at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Second, a few days later, descending into a root cellar at The Rankin House, one of the stations of the Underground Railroad in Ripley, where runaway slaves were frequently hidden. Had I been alive in the 1800's, I could have been one of those slaves, the realization of which was enough to make me shudder in that moment, and even now. I drew on those visceral feelings as I wrote the stories of Harriet's harrowing journeys to and from the South to rescue slaves desperate for freedom. As an African American author, these stories are close to the bone.

ph_Grimes_2

Did you have anything to say about the choice of illustrator?

Yes. I felt strongly that, as this was a book about women, written by a woman, a female artist should be tapped for the illustrations. Michele Wood was first on my list, specifically for her attention to historical detail. I conveyed my thoughts to my editor, who took them into account. Neither of us was disappointed with the final choice, or the stunning work that resulted.

What type of input did you have on the illustrations or the design of the book?

In this book, I had very little to do with either, although I occasionally commented on something in the sketches, which were sent to me early on.

Do you write the back matter or does the publisher have someone to do this?

I research and write all of my own back matter.

If you write the back matter, are you taking notes for this as you do your research or how do you prepare for this part of the book?

I planned to prepare substantial back matter for this book from the very beginning, though I did not assemble this information until the very end. As I went along, I made notations about historical figures or important historical events, or legislation that I might want to include in the back matter. Further research into those subjects came at the end of the project when I was ready to draft that section of the book.

Are there any questions I didn't ask that you wish I had asked you?

 How long did it take me to create this book? The idea first came to me in 1988. I took my initial research trip in early 2008. Chasing Freedom was finally published in 2015. My point? It's important to remember that some books take time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chasing Freedom

Bookstorm™: Chasing Freedom

In this Bookstorm™: Chasing Freedom
The Life Jour­neys of Har­ri­et Tub­man and Susan B. Antho­ny, Inspired by His­tor­i­cal Facts
writ­ten by Nik­ki Grimes
illus­trat­ed by Michele Wood
Orchard Books, 2015
As Nik­ki Grimes writes in her author’s note for this book, “His­to­ry is often taught in bits and pieces, and stu­dents rarely get the notion that these bits and pieces are con­nect­ed.”… more
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Skinny Dip with Nikki Grimes

bk_chasingfreedom_140What keeps you up at night?

My brain! I can't shut it off. I'm constantly bombarded with thoughts about what's on my to-do list (I live or die by the list), what arrangements I need to make for the next conference, book festival, or school visit; what work I need to do to elevate the relationships of my characters or ways to make them more authentic; what manuscript I need to concentrate on next (I'm always juggling three or four at one time). When those things aren't keeping me up, it's one of my mouthy characters, deciding he or she has something to say that just can't wait until morning!

What is your proudest career moment?

Entering the White House as a guest for the first time, on the invitation of First Lady Laura Bush, as part of the National Book Festival in 2003, with my sister—my oldest fan—on my arm, beaming! Winning the Coretta Scott King Award for Bronx Masquerade is what got me there.

bk_bronx140In what Olympic sport would you like to win a gold medal?

Ice-skating! I have absolutely no talent in this area, but ice-skating is the one Olympic sport that keeps me glued to the television screen. That combination of lyrical movement and technical skill fascinates me. I especially love those moments of spontaneity when each athlete's personality shines through. The programs are planned and choreographed, but the performances are very much in the moment. Anything can happen, and I love that! I feel that way when I'm writing a story. Anything is possible. Anything can happen! I put in the work, I lay in the structure, set my character's back-stories, and then, somewhere along the way, I get into the zone, and—boom! Magic happens, and I score tens across the board—in my mind, at least! Yeah. Ice-skating.

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Face down an armed robber, high on drugs, in a Swedish boutique I managed in Stockholm. I was working behind the counter when this guy came into the store and confronted me, his hand in his pocket pointing a gun in my direction. He demanded the money in the register and, when I did not comply, he bared a mouthful of yellowed teeth.

I will blow you straight to hell,” he told me.

No,” I said. “You’ll blow me straight to heaven.”

That got him off his game, I think. He took a step back from the counter and gave me a long, hard look.

What? What did you say?” he asked.

I, calm as the prover­bial cucum­ber, explained to him that, as a Chris­t­ian, when I died, I was going to heav­en, not to hell. Then, blan­ket­ed in the per­fect peace of God, I pro­ceed­ed to share with him the gospel of Christ, and invit­ed him to accept Jesus.

Now, mind you, this was an out-of-body expe­ri­ence, because part of me was stand­ing back, watch­ing, ask­ing myself, “Are you crazy?! This man’s got a gun!” But, some­how, in that moment, by God’s grace, I felt no fear.

I talked with him qui­et­ly, slow­ly as if I had all the time in the world.

He asked me a few hon­est ques­tions about faith and for­give­ness, which I answered. As the scene played out, his pos­ture changed. His shoul­ders soft­ened, his head began to bow, the hand in his pock­et relaxed and he let the gun drop.  Even­tu­al­ly, with both hands at his side, he shuf­fled out of the store, whis­per­ing a string of apologies. 

Once he was gone, I returned to my body and trem­bled from head to foot, like a nor­mal per­son! It was an extra­or­di­nary moment that taught me the real­i­ty of the pow­er of God and the per­fect peace he can offer in any cir­cum­stance. Okay, so maybe this is as much a sto­ry about faith as it is about brav­ery. Any­way, there you have it.

What TV show can't you turn off?

There are a few, but the one that most surprises me is Shark Tank!

There is some­thing riv­et­ing about a per­son bar­ing his heart in pur­suit of a dream, and fight­ing for that dream in a do-or-die moment, when self-con­fi­dence is the key to suc­cess. I have wres­tled in pur­suit of my dreams my entire life. Maybe that’s why this show res­onates with me.

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