The closing of the children’s bookstores that I ran for couple of years was emotionally devastating in many ways. I loved the employees. I loved the products that we sold. I loved the community that supported us and shopped our stores. I loved being part of the publishing community. And I loved some of the very special opportunities it provided.
While we had some of my favorite kid authors come through the stores and too some of the local schools with me there is one event that really continues to stand out. Continues to be a voice and an evening that I replay in my head during some of my lowest points.
Laura Hillman, author and holocaust survivor, lives locally. Her book, “I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree” is a memoir recounting her years spent in Nazi concentration camps during her teens. Needless to say, it is extremely moving. In it she tells of the horrors of the camp, the nightmare she lived and different nightmares she witnessed. She also talk about meeting who would later become her husband. It has been several years since I read it and my memory mixes with the amazing experience I alluded to above. That being that I was able to arrange to have her come to our store for a Mom’s book club night. We had 40 women come for a catered dinner. And Ms. Hillman spoke to us about her book. About her life. About love. And about forgiveness.
Her voice seems somewhat quietly but her message is powerful. That we as people, need to treat one another as people. We need to love.
On Thursday afternoon she will be speaking that powerful message at the Bowers Museum as part of their Holocaust Remembrance Day. I will be pulling 6 kids from their classes to come and listen to what I hope will be an important lesson on which they too continue to draw on those teenage days that can seem so dark. Because it is a message of overcoming, forgiving, and having light in one’s life.
Books will be available for purchase and signing after Ms. Hillman is done speaking. Doors open at 1:00 pm, talk scheduled from 1:30 – 2:30. Cost $5 students, $8 adults