In the past two weeks, we have reached out to Elementary Schools in middle Tennessee who have experienced what has been termed "a thousand year flood."
Knowing that there were some children left frightened and confused, we sent copies of The Angry Thunderstorm to the children at Pennington Elementary School along with a letter letting them know that we were thinking about them. We also encouraged them to let their teachers and parents know if they were having difficulty understanding their feelings about what had happened. They received their books today, and this is what one of the teachers had to say...
Your books arrived a little while ago … and the story is just wonderful!!! I love your letter you wrote to the students too. What a caring person you are! The children felt so special that “an author” would write to them. Now, they want to “meet you”! You would be an “honored guest” at Pennington … anytime!
As the books arrived, we were having a thunderstorm. I stopped doing my inventory and went to read to my first graders. They sat so intently and listened. They loved hearing your letter and had so many questions to ask about you. We have studied about what an “author” does, so they knew what you did, but they were interested in where you live and about your family. They loved the book! It was so timely to read, as we sat (with shades drawn) during the storm. Their teachers loved it too! You truly touched them. Some who were evacuated in the flood and have had a hard time, had some questions, but seemed to understand that not all storms are destructive and we talked about how they “clean the air” and the other points that you brought out.
Next time it storms, I told them to remember your story. They said that they can’t wait to “check it out” in the fall. I will have the books processed and on display for them when they return to school.
Thank you again. You made my day!!
Susan, you and your students at Pennington Elementary are delightful. I would love to visit your school in the Fall and will do everything in my power to make it happen.
To our readers, above is a picture of Pennington Bend. About half of Pennington's students have been greatly affected by this disaster. Some will probably relocate. As Susan puts it, "Their sweet little spirits are amazing, though. Overall, they are doing remarkably well, with all they are coping with. We are so thankful to have them here with us and to share their daily struggles. My concern for them is this summer... when things are not as structured and they have to live elsewhere, or in the neighborhood, where things are still so bad. Their play areas are destroyed with debris and smell horribly with the stench of the flood and mold."
Many had flood insurance, but that does not cover anything but the structure of the home ... not the ductwork, central unit, or the contents. Many of their families worked at the Opryland Hotel. Now, those families have lost their jobs, due to the flood, and that is a great concern.
If you wish to donate to the recovery effort in Tennessee, please call the TEMA Hotline at (866) 586-4483. Any help you can provide is appreciated.