“Anger, fear, and hatred are no match, ever, for love.” – Kitty O’Meara
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing a review. All opinions are mine. If you purchase the book using any of the links in this review, I may receive a small commission from Amazon, which helps keep this site going.
One of the overarching themes in my life recently has been being “seen.” Not being “seen” as in making appearances on stage or having people watch my videos. Being seen means more than that. To me, being seen means being understood. As human beings with feelings and thoughts and ideas, we all want to be understood – for someone to “get” us. A lot of people think they know me and are usually very surprised when they find out what I am really like when they meet me in person.
I thought you were taller!
I thought you were shorter!
I thought you would be an extrovert!
I thought you would smile more!
That’s the thing about the internet. What we think we know about people is very rarely EVERYTHING there is to know. Being online and using the internet fools us into thinking that we have all the answers, because, hey, Google knows everything about everything and everybody, right? Seems like it, and I am often guilty of thinking that way too.
Even if you have met me in person, which me did you meet? Did you meet the me that was stressed out about a quiz? Did you meet the me that had JUST gotten some hot fries from my favorite place and all was right in my world?
We form opinions about people almost instantly when we meet them or see them on TikTok, based on our own experiences and our own view of the world. We have to. If we didn’t, we would spend hours, days, or even years in “analysis paralysis” trying to figure out what to watch on Netflix or where to sit for lunch. I don’t know about you, but I have less than an hour to figure out where to sit for lunch. Anyway, that’s not always a great idea. Sometimes you have to consider other people’s ideas and do a little more research before making a decision. That’s how we keep peace and show love – by really seeing each other.
For the past few years, with the coronavirus, racism, sexism, and a lot of other “isms”, we haven’t done a lot of that. This book teaches us that a difference of opinion does not have to equal chaos. The Rare, Tiny Flower by Kitty O’Meara gives kids (and adults) a lesson in stepping back and appreciating your own thoughts, giving people the space and grace to have their own opinions and ideas, and recognizing that the differences are valid.
The poem starts with an origin story, as all good stories should, and from there things descend into a mild madness – all because of a rare, tiny flower and some strong differences of opinion.
Once, in a forest,
a bird dropped a seed.
It wasn’t a sapling,
it wasn’t a weed,
but a rare, tiny flower
that found light and grew.
To some it looked red,
to some it looked blue.
And from there, it just all goes downhill.
About The Rare, Tiny Flower via Tra Publishing– “The poem features a mysterious flower that looks different to each viewer, which leads to strife as everyone insists that their vision is “right.” Leaders and even botanists are unable to agree on the nature of the flower—it takes a young girl to point out that the flower is, in fact, quite multidimensional. Remarkably, she has the ability to be heard by the squabbling masses, who then see beyond their fighting and commit to connecting with one another.”
“There are many problems facing the world today. We’ve sadly seen, again and again, that when people are overwhelmed they may choose to allow anxiety to mute their spirits and gifts,” O’Meara says. “When voices are raised in anger and fear, no one can be heard.”
In the past several years, there has been so much anger and so much fear. People are angry and fearful about the coronavirus. People are angry and fearful about racism. But in all of that, we have seen tremendous strength, determination, and creativity. Kitty O’Meara wants us to know that we need more of that, and less fighting. “In The Rare, Tiny Flower, I wanted to show that every voice, every gift, is here to meet the world’s needs. Space and time for listening and peaceful reflection are vital,” says O’Meara. “We need to grant this to ourselves and others so we can reunite and get to work respectfully and creatively.”
Illustrated by the award-winning illustrator and author Quim Torres, who also illustrated another book that I have reviewed called Sweet People are Everywhere (another call for peace and understanding), The Rare, Tiny Flower is a wonderful follow-up to her viral poem (and best-selling book) And the People Stayed Home.
I loved The Rare, Tiny Flower. I could identify with the flower, as most of us can, and as much as I hate to admit it, I can identify with the screamers as well as with the little girl calling for calm and reflection. As much as I want to be heard, I know that I need to practice hearing too. That’s the only way that we will get a full appreciation and understanding of all of the rare, tiny flowers among us.