So we've talked a little about hugs and love in the previous post, I guess you probably know by now that we are quite the huggers. As much as possible, I also like to let my kids hug the grandparents, cousins, relatives, our friends and at times, even strangers. Yes, we are pretty generous with hugs because we believe they have the power to cheer people up and make the world a better place.
If there is one person I might have least expected to write a book about hugs, it is Nick Vujicic. Not for any other reason except that I just could not imagine how one could possibly give, or receive, a hug without limbs. Then when I first saw one of his motivational videos on YouTube, which by the way brought tears to my eyes, I realise you don't hug with arms or legs; you hug with your heart. The way he would embrace the students, the way he would look at them with sincerity, the way he always wore that charming smile on his face, those were the things that touched me from within and gave a whole new meaning to the word 'hug'.
When I laid my hands on the book Give Me a Hug, I was already in love with it by looking at the cover. The illustration was simple yet powerful - a small girl who puts her hands behind her back and gives Nick a hug. I knew this was not just a book I wanted my girl to read, I craved to learn from it too and be inspired by Nick's life lessons.
"Whether your life is happy or not is your own choice.
Many people think I can't live a normal life because
I don't have arms or legs.
I could choose to believe that and give up trying.
I could stay at home and wait for others to take care of me.
Instead, I choose to believe that I can do anything,
and I always try to do things my own way.
I choose to be happy.
I am happy because I am always thankful."
I love the way he views life and how he stresses the importance of love and gratitude. Even though this might be an illustrated storybook for children, I think all of us can learn lessons on how to better treasure life and make each day count. Come to think of it, I think adults need to learn this more than kids, because while they are relishing moments of their childhood, we are the ones who never seem to be contented in our worldly pursuits.
The book is divided into eight chapters and in each chapter, Nick recounts a memorable episode in his life and at the end of it, reflects on the moral of the story and summarises it in a one-page lesson learnt. Empathy, acceptance, perseverance, friendship, gratitude and appreciation are some of the values talked about in these stories. But above all, the book revolves around two key points - love and hope.
Since this is a book meant for children to understand, the language is kept pretty simple and straightforward. While I miss some of the humour that Nick displays in his other books, I like that this is written in a sincere, succinct and non-preachy manner. Even though we might easily finish the book in a day, I personally think this is one of those books that can be read and re-read countless times and still makes a great choice for bedtime stories.
Spoiler alert: Here's showing you the final two pages of the book which also happen to be my favourite pages. Well, I guess it's easy to see why. A picture of Nick hugging his son in a baby sling and a picture of his happy family - these are the kind of things that melt my heart and make me smile with teary eyes.
As a mum, I think this book will be a perfect read for kids and a timely reminder for adults.
May we all learn to always give love and never lose hope.
If you are keen to get a copy of Give Me a Hug, here's a giveaway whereby two lucky readers of A Happy Mum will be receiving this inspiring and delightful book.
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Disclosure: We received a copy of Give Me a Hug for review purpose. All opinions are our own.