Angels in the Snow
by Michael Dealy, Ph.D.

"Sometimes, being broken makes you stronger than you could ever be, especially when it comes to goodness."

In this imaginatively conceived parable, author, educator and psychologist Michael Dealy compares a boy struggling with the challenges of health issues to a broken angel set atop the family Christmas tree. Father and son are walking to school where the boy wants to sign up to play Little League baseball when the new season starts. The boy is recalling the recent decorating of the Christmas tree, puzzling over why his dad always uses even the old, partially broken decorations, including an angel with only one wing. As they walk, the boy, who suffers from asthma, falls in a snowdrift and begins to cough. Once he is back on his feet, he sees he has made an impression in the snow like an angel with one wing. He asks his father about the broken tree ornaments and is given the answer quoted above. Then we see the boy later in life, answering questions about baseball, indicating a successful Little League experience. He will recall best the evening he played "angels in the snow."

As constructed by Dealy, the boy's apparent weakness will be overcome, encouraging children to conquer their own weaknesses and respect the brokenness they see in others. The book is nicely illustrated by James Arnold, who is careful to depict the two characters as rather nondescript—an "Everyman” and his "Everyboy"—so that anyone might identify with them. Targeted for all ages, the narrative seems at times a bit too sophisticated for a younger child, while the picture book format may be regarded as overly childlike for an older reader. However, this would be a satisfying "read-to" book, evoking some important discussion between a parent or grandparent and a child wrestling with issues of coping with differentness, disability or disease.

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