Random act of kindness. Authors and illustrators have stepped in to replace a little girl’s book collection that was destroyed in a fire [Photo: Parma Elementary School]
What would you save in a fire? For Heidi VanSumeren it would have been her books. The age old question many of us ponder but hope we’ll never have to actually face became a horrible reality for Heidi on March 17 when a fire ripped through her family’s Michigan home destroying her beloved book collection.
When Heidi didn’t have her nose in a book the eight-year-old was creating and designing mini tomes of her own, but much to her distress all her supplies and reading materials were destroyed in last month’s fire.
“There in the middle of all that panic of the fire when she was crying, I just kept telling her it would be okay,” Heidi’s mum told MLive.com. And thankfully thanks to a random act of kindness, it was.
A children’s author and illustrator, Bob Shea, who’d met Heidi on a visit to her school, heard what had happened and turned to Twitter to ask his fellow authors to help replace Heidi’s beloved collection.
Heidi looks through her new collection [Photo: Parma Elementary School]
“A little girl had her house burn down THIS PAST MONDAY. Her name is Heidi,” he wrote. “She lost all her books. Let’s send her some.”
“Heidi was most upset about losing a writing desk, her books and school supplies. If that doesn’t get you, you’re made of stone,” he added.
Within days books, a desk, a chair, bookshelves and new art supplies started arriving at Heidi’s primary school.
“We ended up with three backpacks and three big totes full of books,” explained Heidi’s mum, Beth. “She loves looking at every book because a lot of the authors signed them or wrote a message for her inside.”
Heidi has been overwhelmed by the generosity of authors in replacing her beloved book collection [Photo: Parma Elementary School]
Heidi’s mum went on to explain that the little girl uses books to cope with difficult things like the recent death of her older sister, Avery, who was severely multiply impaired and died at age 11 last year.
“Books are really special for her,” she told Good Morning America. “We can talk to her and try to explain but when she can read it on her own whenever she’s sad and needs help, that’s always been an easier way for her to understand things.”
If that story doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy on a wet Wednesday we don’t know what will.
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