Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Passing It On: The Traveler's Gift by Danielle Davison

Liam's father was a sailor. After returning from sea, he'd weave tales for Liam of the faraway places he'd been.

His father's words fire Liam to imagine the glorious adventures, the exotic places, and strange creatures he will see with his father when he, too, is old enough to go to sea.
But one day, his father didn't return.

Liam is lost, his future gone. Other sailors' tales do not fill the void.

But then a very old white-bearded man named Enzo, disembarks.
The other men call him "the Traveler."

When the Traveler spoke of his voyages, a peculiar thing happened. His beard grew.

As Enzo recounts his travels, his beard seems to grow longer and longer like a tapestry filled with fantastic images. And Liam is thrilled when one day the old man invites him along on a final voyage, to be the teller of their adventures.  Liam cannot believe his fortune and his heart swells. It is almost as if he is taking the voyage he always dreamed of with his own father. As they share their experiences, the old man teaches Liam his wisdom.
Enzo taught him to really listen.

He taught him to see truly see things, with more than his eyes.

Time passes and Liam is happy, but when Enzo comes to the end of his days, he asks Liam to become the Traveler, the new teller of stories. Liam is overcome with sadness, but eventually he finds his own voice and he sees the future ahead of him, in Danielle Davison's forthcoming The Traveler's Gift: A Story of Loss and Hope (Page Street Books, 2019). Everyone has his or her own story, and wisdom is really seeing and hearing the story of everyone and everything. We are our own stories and those of others, and this book, whimsically and symbolically illustrated by Anne Lambelet, turns on the value of the work of the storyteller in life.

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