Angela, from Pierre Berton Resource Library, and her daughters Maya and Kara, created this beautiful wall chalk art outside their homes to express their gratitude and thoughts on COVID-19. #TogetherVaughan
I’ve been thinking a lot about what community means. How do we define community? What brings communities together during times of hardship?
I’ve seen a lot of people uniting for the greater good lately. From demonstrations of appreciation for frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19, to peaceful protests against systemic anti-black racism and police violence. Our communities refuse to back down. We are strong, resilient, and we won’t stop fighting for justice.
Community isn’t just a group of people inhabiting the same place. Community is about solidarity, empathy, and respect. It’s about acknowledging the often invisible ties that link us all. To be a member of a community is to be a member of a team — something greater than yourself. You can’t spell community without unity.
May I introduce you to the inhabitants of our fruit bowl here that you’ll find in Fruit Bowl, by Mark Hoffmann: Apple, Peach, Banana, Lemon, Orange, Pear, Strawberry, Grapes, Lime, Blueberry, and Tomato. Wait – tomato? Slightly creepy (just look at those faces) but ever so adorable (in that “it’s weird but I love it” kind of way) – complete with arguably some of the best puns of all time in children’s fiction – Tomato makes his case to the fruit bowl denizens that tomatoes are, indeed, a fruit. But why stop there? It’s not just tomatoes! A whole lineup of other unlikely fruits gravitate in line to the fruit bowl from the crisper in the fridge, finally gaining the ability to be recognized for what they truly are. Read it to find out what else belongs in the fruit bowl!
A delightful read, though I have to admit with a somewhat ambiguous takeaway; is Hoffmann just tackling the issue of what makes a fruit a fruit, or are we actually talking about in-groups and out-groups? Also, why are vegetables presented as being lesser than fruits? Why does everyone want to be a fruit? Or do they just want to be recognized for who/what they really are? I’m also interested in why Tomato is male, because do tomatoes (the fruit) even have sexes?*, but that might be a discussion for another time – I absolutely adored this book from beginning to end, literally cover to cover.
So… I’m officially a fan. I mean, cats, clans, intrigue and the ugly side of ambition, what’s not to love? If you haven’t guessed by now which cat series I’ve finally dipped my toes into, it’s the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. Into the Wild is fast-paced with a plot that thickens with each page you turn, pulling you deeper and deeper into feline territory.
While our own coming of ages might not (have) resemble(d) Firepaw’s too much* in terms of fighting for our lives amongst kitty clans’ claims for land and power, Into the Wild is certainly a novel that finely balances some of the injustices of life and how to remain true to yourself in spite of these moments.
So please don’t be surprised if/when you see me writing and/or singing eulogies dedicated to beloved fallen cats (as I’m sure will happen throughout the series). Think of it as a kitty Game of Thrones: just because a character is dear to the audience and to other characters within the novel, doesn’t mean it’s immune to being killed off by the author.