When you’re eight years old and disaster strikes – it can seem like the world is falling apart. Problems are magnified and solutions don’t always come easy. In the case of eight-year-old Heidi VanSumeren – her solution came through her mailbox courtesy of authors, publishers, and librarians from across the country. 

Heidi and her family lost their home in Parma, Michigan to a devastating fire. In that fire was a collection of books that Heidi simply treasured. Books are really special to her,” mom Beth said. “We can talk to her and try to explain but when she can read it on her own whenever she’s sad and needs help, that’s always been an easier way for her to understand things.”

Author, Bob Shea, met Heidi VanSumeren, at Parma Elementary School, when he visited the Michigan school for a presentation last month. “After it was over, I asked, ‘Would it be alright if I just put it on Twitter that this girl needs books?’” Shea told ABC News. “All of my followers are kid lit [children’s literature] people.”

bob shea@bobshea Mar 23
AUTHORS AND ILLUSTRATORS
A little girl at @colbysharp‘s school had her house burn down THIS PAST MONDAY.
Her name is Heidi. 

bob shea@bobshea Mar 23
She lost all her books. Let’s send her some.
@colbysharp
Parma Elementary
385 Elizabeth St, Parma, MI 49269

bob shea@bobshea Mar 23
Heidi was most upset about losing a writing desk, her books and school supplies.
If that doesn’t get you, you’re made of stone. @colbysharp

The tweets picked up steam when they were retweeted and shared by Colby Sharp, the teacher who told Shea about Heidi and who also writes a children’s literature blog, reports Good Morning America.

“They know that books save lives and that books are an escape for people going through tough times,” Sharp said of the authors and publishers who have sent books. “They couldn’t stand the thought of this little girl going without them.”

“We ended up with three backpacks and three big totes full of books,” said Beth VanSumeren. “She loves looking at every book because a lot of the authors signed them or wrote a message for her inside.”

WHEN SOMETHING GOES TERRIBLY WRONG IN YOUR LIFE – STOP AND LOOK AT IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHINE. FOR THESE ARE THE MOMENTS IN YOUR LIFE THAT WILL DECIDE YOUR FATE.

The Next Leap Forward

I am convinced that if you take these ‘low moments’ and turn them into ‘high expectations’, you will eventually win your race. Those three simple tweets transformed a story of sadness and grief – to a story of happiness and hope – as authors, publishers and librarians across the country sent the young girl new books to replace the books that were lost in the fire. She even received a desk, a chair and other supplies, along with more than enough books to replace the collection.

This story is an affirmation that ‘human kindness’ is alive and well in 2016. I call this the ‘power of a movement’ to do good in the world. You also have the opportunity to come to the aide of your fellowman and do good by opening your eyes to the world around you. It can be the smallest gesture or what perhaps you may think is far too small a gesture to be noticed – but it is the power of that movement and all the good behind it, that will shine through.

The ‘Heidi VanSumeren’ story confirms my belief in mankind.

There is far more good in the world then there is bad and hatred – come along and join the ranks of goodness and you too will find yourself on the brink of greatness!