There’s a bit of a disconnect between the mood in this photo and the mood I’m anticipating at the Hackmatack celebrations in Moncton this week, when hundreds of kids from all over New Brunswick will gather to honour the authors of books they have been reading this year. But there is a connection. Both came about because I wrote a book called Highway of Heroes.
There are certainly more “fun” books than Highway of Heroes on the Hackmatack lists for kids to enjoy reading, but I’ve heard from lots of Hackmatack readers and Silver Birch readers, too, who have written to tell me they enjoyed the book, even if it did make them feel sad for the boy in the story who travels the Highway of Heroes with his family.
Some kids who sent letters were expressing their feelings to others, too, like these:
Dear Families of Soldiers,
It must have been heart-breaking to hear about your loved ones.
Those are the kinds of sentiments that inspire people to line the bridges over the Highway of Heroes whenever a fallen soldier is returned to Canada. This phenomenon in turn inspired me to write the book. Highway of Heroes won’t win any of the tree awards it’s up for this year but that’s okay. As all the authors of the nominated books will tell you, it’s great just to know that our books are being read. And really there’s no better prize I could ask for, having written this book, than the hug I got from the mother of a fallen soldier in Fredericton in 2010, after the Remembrance Day ceremony there, at which this post’s photo was taken.