First let me start by saying that I'm not a beach person. I'm not much for the sun and the sand, and I've never surfed in my life. I'm not even that great of a swimmer. In fact, I live in this kind of weather from about October to April (depending on the winter).
However, the kiddo is a huge water baby. She's not a fan of the snow and cold and whenever possible she's in the water swimming. And if we have a snow day (of which we've had a lot this year) her first inclination is not to go out and play and sled, but instead to find some beach movies to watch and plan all the vacations she wants to take to different islands. A frew weeks ago she stumbled upon Soul Surfer and immmediately it became a favorite. So when she got a Barnes and Nobles book card, she wanted the normal 5 year old fare (activity books and My Little Pony stories), but also really wanted the book Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton. I'm reading a little a day to her, but I flew through it in a few hours myself.
For those who are not familiar with Hamilton, she is the girl who lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing near her home in Hawaii. What's great about the book and movie, and really about Bethany herself, is that she doesn't dwell on the "why me?" although she acknowledges those thoughts. Instead she seems to focus on the "what now?" She still wants to surf, she wants to compete and eventually she embraces her postition as a role model for other amputees and young girls. I'm ecstatic that my 5 year old has picked Bethany as a celebrity to look up to. Her positive outlook and adventurous spirit is exactly what I want for my kid.
The book itself is well written. It follows the story fo the attack as well as covering her life before and how her life changed after she lost her arm. It also gives great details on surfing, which is a lot of fun to read as well. She wrote this book several years ago, and her young age definitely is noticable in the way she writes. It doesn't take away from the biography at all, but there were a few spots that I could tell I was reading something written by a teenager. That said, she has written or cco-written several other books since then, and I'm looking forward to checking those out as well.
In the meantime, while we wait for more books, we'll be watching the last season of Amazing Race, which Bethany and her husband Adam competed on. Oh, and we'll be waiting eagerly for summer, I know a vertain 5 year old who desperately wants to learn to surf.