Hope Is an Arrow by Cory McCarthy

Hope Is An Arrow: The Story of Lebanese American Poet Kahlil Gibran

Cory McCarthy, Author

Ekua Holmes, Illustrator

Candlewick Press, Biography, July 5, 2022

Suitable for ages: 6-9

Pages: 40

Themes: Kahlil Gibran, Biography, Artist, Poet, Biography, Conflict, Hope, Multicultural

Opening: “There once was a boy shot from a bow like an arrow. Strong and straight, he flew across the world, connecting many people with the power of his words. But not right away.”

Book Jacket Synopsis:

Before Kahlil Gibran became the world’s third-best-selling poet of all time, he was Gibran Khalil Gibran, an immigrant child from Lebanon with a secret hope to bring people together despite their many differences.

Kahlil’s life highlights the turn of the twentieth century, from the religious conflicts that tore apart his homeland and sent a hundred thousand Arab people to America, to settling in Boston, where the wealthy clashed headlong with the poor.

Throughout it all, Kahlil held on to his secret hope, even as his identity grew roots on both sides of the Atlantic. How could he be both Kahlil Gibran, Arab American, and Gibran Khalil Gibran, the Lebanese boy who longed for the mountains of his homeland?

Kahlil found the answer in art and poetry. He wrote The Prophet, an arrow of hope as strong as the great cedars of Lebanon and feathered by the spirit of American independence. More than a hundred years later, his words still fly around the world in many languages, bringing people together.

Why I like Hope Is an Arrow:

Cory McCarthy’s lyrical text, mingles with beautiful quotes from Gibran’s poetry, to create this inspiring  biography of Kahlil Gibran for children. Ekua Holmes stunning collages and acrylic illustrations are rich in detail and capture Gibran’s remarkable journey from childhood to adulthood. 

Children will see how adversity and loss inspired Gibran’s dreams of a better world. He was troubled by the deep religious divisions among the people in Lebanon. His father was imprisoned and his family lost their home, They immigrated to America, where he continued to see division between the wealthy and the poor in Boston’s South End. The young Gibran held a secret hope of peace within him, but he couldn’t find the words in English or Arabic to write them down. So he began to draw. Teachers and artists encouraged him. Later in life he began to write poetry to help people celebrate their many differences. 

Gibran’s secret hope is a still timely book called The Prophet. It is published in 40 different languages and  resides in libraries around the world where young and old alike revel in his hope.

Make sure you check out the four pages of of additional stories about Gibran’s life and work at the end of the book.  Each entry is related to the inspiration behind the beautiful quotes shared throughout the story, including :

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, 

And let the winds of the heavens dance

between you.

Love one another, but make not a 

bond of love: 

Let it rather be a moving sea between

the shores of your souls.”

Resources: Ask children if they have a special hope or dream to help a family member, friend, or community, Encourage them to draw or write about their hopes/dreams. There are no right or wrong answers so let them be creative. For starters: planting more trees in their city, helping a disabled friend, and rescuing animals, 

Cory McCarthy is an acclaimed, best-selling author of books for young readers. They studied poetry and screenwriting before earning and MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where they now serve on the faculty. Like Kahlil Gibran, their family emigrated from Lebanon and settled in New England. Learn more about their books at this website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by Candlewick in exchange for a review.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

16 thoughts on “Hope Is an Arrow by Cory McCarthy

  1. I just read this book the other day, Patricia. It is so beautiful. But it is also sad that there has been and continues to be so much loss/strife in this world. It is amazing and heartening to see that some, like Kahlil Gibran, appear to rise from the ashes of their struggles.

    Like

    • And his work is being introduced to new generations of readers. And children are very in tune with what is happening in the world and will need to be inspired by those like Gibran. I am so delighted you loved this book and look forward to your insightful review.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this book already, and I loved the title before I even knew it was about Kahlil Gibran, whose book The Prophet resides on one of my shelves and is one of my favourite books of all time. I love the quote about children, which is where the title comes from and must be why it resonated with me immediately. I am ordering a copy of this book now. Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention, Patricia.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this one, Pat. The Prophet is a book I have constantly to hand and has probably been referred to more than any other for much of my life. As you say, it’s poetry and wisdom are timeless. I will be buying a copy for myself to read and to then pass on to my granddaughter x

    Like

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