Tuesday, May 19, 2015

WISH

On March 3, WISH was released.


WISH is the story–my family's story–of a couple in love, living for years focusing only on themselves, not yet planning to bring a child into the picture.

Time passes. And when they are finally ready for their family to grow… to their dismay, a baby does not seem like it is going to be possible. There is sadness, hardship, and a lingering, unanswerable question of “will we ever have a baby?”


When it seems as if hope is lost, a flicker of possibility appears. And then… “with every feeling that was ever felt,” that baby does make its way into the world, in a crescendo of joy and love.


All of these moments—the highs and the lows—create the full picture I wanted to make with WISH. I wanted to make a book for all families who have welcomed a baby and who know this crescendo. But I also wanted to make a book for families like mine who weren’t quite sure there would ever be a family. But through perseverance and courage and determination, and through one way or another, that baby was willed into their world. I hoped families who braved through questions and struggles of infertility and/or adoption would find this book. My hope was that these parents could read WISH with these children, and at the end say, “this book is about you. This is what we went through to meet you. Because you are our everything.”


Since the book was released, I’ve been amazed and moved by the emails and messages I receive every week. Messages from people who are finding WISH and being affected by the story, often connecting it with their own. Readers who are moved enough by the book to share it within their own family and also go beyond and share it with others. I’m incredibly grateful for each and every one of these exchanges.

There is one I’d like to highlight here.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a Facebook message from a very special librarian friend, Margie Myers-Culver. Margie and I have known each other for a few years now. She writes the most perceptive, thoughtful, well-crafted book reviews via her blog, Librarian’s Quest. To call them “reviews”… it’s not quite enough. More like works of art about art. She’s a wonderfully thoughtful person who is passionate about reading and about books for children. Margie’s message began like this…

I have been thinking a great deal about getting copies of Wish to more people. Today I chatted with one of the board members at our Charlevoix Hospital Foundation. She said they would be more than willing to accept my donation based upon my request for all the money to go to buying Wish for babies delivered at the hospital. They have 200 babies born each year…”

Margie went on to describe her plan to purchase and donate 200 copies WISH to Charlevoix Hospital. One for every baby born there in a year’s time. The donation would be made in honor of her late mother, also a librarian and champion of authors and illustrators, reading, and books for young readers.

What a beautiful notion… to give this story of ultimate reward to every one of those ultimate rewards being born in a community. I was blown away. I found it hard to believe someone could be so thoughtful and generous to take on such a thing. That just one person would take it upon herself to make such a lasting and caring and generous gift to her community. And with books! But it was all true. 

This story continues to unfold as I write these words. 


 This week, I visited Anderson’s Bookshop (an independent bookstore in a Chicago suburb not too far from me) and I signed and drew in 200 copies of WISH. 


Knowing that all the books I touched would eventually be put into mothers’, fathers’, and newborn babies’ hands. There was some good magic at work there.

The books are now being shipped to Margie’s home in Charlevoix, Michigan. She will be placing a custom commemorative bookplate inside each book that reads:

Welcome to the world!
May this book be the first step on your journey
to becoming a lifelong reader.
It is given with love by Margaret Marie Myers Culver 
in memory of her mother, Agatha Marie Fires Myers,
 a woman who loved introducing the joy books can bring to children.

Each book will be wrapped in paper and ribbon and then the books will be officially donated to Charlevoix Hospital. And the next 200 children born there will begin life with this gift.

I can’t even begin to thank you enough, Margie, for this amazing donation that will affect so many people. It is all happening, but it still seems so unlikely and unreal. I’ll never forget it. I never imagined that making this book would have turned into something like this. Thank you, Margie. Thank you.
And thank you to all who have read WISH and taken the time to share it with someone you love.

9 comments:

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

Simply beautiful...in so many ways. Love to yours and all families who welcome these treasures called children. Warmly, Amy

Matthew Cordell said...

Thanks so much, Amy! Best wishes and love to your and yours as well.

Jen Robinson said...

This is a really wonderful story. Many thanks to you, and especially to Margie, for brightening my day. It's a lovely book and an even lovelier story.

Matthew Cordell said...

Thank you, Jen! And I agree, what Margie's done here... it's astonishing.

Sal's Fiction Addiction said...

Wow! Now, there's inspiration for every one of us. Wish is a book to be loved and shared beyond our own walls ... with other families, and especially with those who have such lovely bundles of joy to take home with them. I applaud your sharing your personal story, and Margie's as well. The world is blessed to have you both in it!

Matthew Cordell said...

Thanks so much for the very kind words for WISH, and for following the story, Sal! It's so nice to hear all of this!

Michelle MGD said...

I went through 4 years of infertility trying to get pregnant. My daughter was born last April. This story, Wish, is my story. And the story of so many others. I received your book as a gift today and ordered 5 more copies to give to friends who suffered through infertility and loss. Thank you for your beautiful story.

Matthew Cordell said...

Thank you so much for this note, Michelle! So nice of you to share your story here and congratulations on your baby girl! Thank you for your very kind words and for sharing WISH with your friends. Means so much to hear it all.

Salim Ahmed said...

Handy work and i love this as designer.

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