International Children’s Book Day
The Child Who Ended The World
[A Try-2-Read PictureBook, suggested for ages 5-9]
While you’re shopping with Mommy, you see a bright display of candy. Shiny packages of gum and chocolate, sours and sticky taffy, with all kinds of fruit and minty flavors.
You reach out for a box with a smiling grapefruit on the front, but Mommy says, “No. Those sweets aren’t good for you.”
Still hoping to get your way, you decide to throw a tantrum in the store. You stamp your feet and shout, call your Mommy a big meanie, and you start to cry.
“Oh, stop,” your mother says. “It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get a box of candy.”
Mommy smiles, and it’s a strange kind of smile you’ve never seen. “I’ll tell you what the end of the world is really like.”
The store grows quiet. You realize you’ve stopped crying.
“It’s not just lack of sugar candy, once the world ends. You won’t have other food, either. No sandwiches, no cereal. No fresh or canned fruit. You’ll be hungry all the time, which will cause an endless pain in your tum-tum. You’ll be so hungry, you’d even want to eat your least favorite vegetables…but you won’t have any.
“And even if you did have some food, you wouldn’t be able to chew it. Your teeth would be all rotted out from the radiation. Your face would be covered with open sores, and you would look a lot like this:”
[Insert illustration: two-page spread of a child’s diseased face.]
Daddy is working at home on the weekend. He’s spending all his time on the computer, even though he promised to go with you to the park to fly your kite.
It’s a beautiful day outside. Your kite looks lonely and unhappy in the back of your closet, and you wish you could see it waving and laughing in the bright blue sky.
You bang on the door to Daddy’s office, saying he’s worked enough for today. Instead of crying, you threaten to hold your breath until you turn blue. You kick at the door when it becomes more difficult for you to breathe.
“Golly day and horsefeathers,” your father says, finally throwing open the door. “How am I supposed to get my work done!”
The held breath finally escapes from your mouth. Daddy is more angry than you’ve ever seen.
“It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get to fly your kite today,” he says. “I’ll tell you what the end of the world is really like.”
You feel light-headed as your dad explains:
“Once the world ends, it’s not just that you’ll never be able to fly a kite again. You won’t even be able to go outside. No walks in the park, no bike rides, no playing catch in the yard. Lightning would crackle through dark skies. Strong winds would tear a small kite to shreds in an instant. The winds would pull up trees, send cars flying, rip the roof off a house.
“You would huddle in a dark basement. Every minute of the day you would be frightened, which would be like holding your breath all the time. Your hair would fall out, and your face would turn pale, and you would look a lot like this:”
[Insert illustration: two page spread of a bald, pale-skinned child, eyes wide with terror.]