Like some of you, I’m a reader. Like others, I wasn’t always. My family came from Germany to the United States when I was in elementary school, and for all kinds of reasons, I struggled. Coming from somewhere different was hard. Learning English—learning in
English—was hard. That slowly changed, thanks mostly to books. Books became my escape, my window to this new American world. I still remember my first book friendships; before I had real friends at my new school, I basked in the company of fictional friends. Since that point, reading books has been one of the things I cherish most.
Here’s another thing you should know about me. Until she passed away, I was fed a steady diet of hopeful anecdotes by my immigrant mother. Hers were often focused on her childhood during World War II in Germany. After losing all their possessions in an Allied bombing, my grandmother and her five children fled their city to Bavaria to start over again while they waited for my grandfather to be released from a camp for prisoners of war. Although my family was on the wrong side of history, it seemed that the lessons served to my mom were ones that resonated, and for that reason, in my childhood home, finding hope was a directive. It was expected that the world’s lemons would be made into fresh lemonade. Perhaps that is the reason I’m an optimist. A dreamer. A hoper. And whether it’s in my genetic makeup to see the glass as half full or it’s a product of conditioning, I love stories of resilience and tenacity, and I look for hopeful stories everywhere—in books, in movies, and most importantly, in real life. The older I get, the more I understand that finding and holding on to hope can be hard. At times it can feel impossible.
So what is Hope Nation
? Simply, it’s a collection of unique and personal experiences shared by some of my favorite writers for teens. Stories of resilience, resistance, hardship, loss, love, tenacity, and acceptance—stories that prove that sometimes, hope can be found only on the other side of adversity. I’m so grateful to each of these talented writers for sharing their own paths to hope.
Mr. Rogers of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood
once said that during a crisis, it’s vital to look for the helpers. The authors featured in Hope Nation
are our helpers; the gift of their stories is the reason I am able to share this book with you. The making of it is a hopeful endeavor in every way—in lieu of being paid to share their stories, my amazing team of contributors have donated 100 percent of their fees to charities that give meaning to them, organizations and charities working to make our world a better place for you and me. And my publisher is matching each donation.
To me, Hope Nation
is the gift I want to give back to all the young people in my life, especially my daughters, Madeleine and Olivia. It’s for the teens closest to me who have been left feeling disempowered and hopeless. We see you. It’s for all of you that we say, “Hope is a decision.” I hope it’s a choice you make for yourself.Dr. Rose Brock
Copyright © 2018 by Dr. Rose Brock. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.