I brought home a random stack of picture books today; it’s getting to be my favorite hobby. In the stack I found Boxes For Katje by Candace Fleming.
Boxes For Katje is about the war relief efforts after World War II left Europe bombed, starving, and freezing. Katje is a Danish girl who receives a box from America. Inside are soap, wool socks and chocolate. Katje is so thankful for this gift that she writes back to her new American friend, Rosie.
Rosie continues to gather food and supplies with the help of friends and neighbors. Their gifts help Katie’s town make it through the winter. As a thank you, Katie’s village send tulip bulbs to Rosie’s town.
It’s a wonderful story, and what makes it even better is the author’s mother was Rosie, and she really did send boxes to Katje.
Every time I learn about this little piece of history, I’m astounded by the outpouring of kindness that Americans showed to Europeans. It’s a bright spot in our history and it’s woven into the fabric of who we are. Sometimes I wish we were a smidge more welcoming and tolerant today, but you can’t have it all.
I would just like to point out the similarities to the story Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot.