Today I spent several hours at Barnes and Noble in Fresno doing market research for both picture books and romance. I’ll describe that experience later. Tonight I want to share the most touching book I have read, The Kissing Hand. Written in 1993, I missed it since I stopped teaching kindergarten in 1985, so it was new to me today.
Chester Raccoon does not want to go to kindergarten. His wise mother tells him that we all have to do things we don’t want to do, but has a secret to share with him.
Chester stops crying long enough to check out the secret. Mom kisses his palm and tells him that he can touch his face with his hand and get the kiss any time he feels lonely or afraid.
Chester loves his hand. In the end Chester takes his mother’s hand and leaves her with a kissing hand to treasure in his absence. Mom loves his gift and needs it as much as he did.
Trying to limit my books to 500 words is torture. I was sure this emotional tale used many more words, but no, Penn packed tremendous love into merely 488 words. However, at the end is a letter from the author, a must read for adults. It turns out that this story stemmed from her experience observing a mother raccoon and her baby in the wild. Mommy Raccoon actually imprinted her scent on baby in a touching move as the illustrations show us, twenty years later.
My goal is to write something this touching and helpful. You must give this book to someone you love, and need to leave, no matter what their age. The Kissing Hand – remember it!