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Cody and the Hairy Thing

            A dear friend asked me if I would be interested in reading two books written by her children.  Because I love reading and whole-heartedly support anyone pursing the art of writing, I immediately agreed.  And in doing so, I decided that I would read the books to my own kids, in order to get a younger perspective of the stories as well.

            Little did I know that this reading would turn into a bonding experience between me and my children.  Despite the busyness of the end of the school year, both my 8- and 10-year-olds would religiously remind me that we needed to “read that cool book!”

            It has to be said that neither of my children are big readers.  And even when I choose to read to them, their gnat-like attention spans take over and they can’t ever tell me anything that I’d just read to them.  In fact, I once read 4 chapters of a book before realizing that my son had been sleeping… with his eyes open.

            All of this to say, if my kids are excited about a book, then it HAS to be good!

            As an adoptive mom, I’m always looking for literature that helps reinforce a positive message to kids about finding their forever family, all the while reconciling their past grief and loss.  And in this first book, Cody and the Hairy Thing¸ young Briton Lafreniere has done just that.  At only 9-years-old, he penned an easy-to-read story filled with imagination, faith in Christ, and the importance of “finding one’s clan” in this life.

            Filled with moral dilemmas, a range of emotions, and difficult decisions that any grade school child may face, Lafreniere found a way to creatively inspire his peers to look to God, respect their parents, and follow their hearts - things that many of us parents are desperately trying to instill into our children at this vulnerable age. 

           When asked how they could relate to the characters in the book, my kids instantly shared a level of insight that is normally not present.  Cameron, my 10-year-old, said that he was taken from his family and placed with a new one, just like one of the story’s main players.  He revealed that he, too, felt a range of emotions, both happy and sad and scared, while we were all working to figure out this new life together.

            In turn, my 8-year-old daughter, Taylor, struggled to hold back tears as two main characters had to part from one another.  She shared that it reminded her of parting with her baby brother.  And for any parent looking for a story that allows for teachable moments, Cody and the Hairy Thing is chocked full of those very moments.  We were able to stop, process feelings, relate the scenarios to our own lives, and talk about how Cody, the boy in the story, may handle them.

            When all is said and done, I’m tired of having to proof everything that my kids are exposed to.  From the friends they choose to the music they listen to, the television shows they watch to the books they read (or are forced to read, in our case!).  And to find a story that didn’t require me to worry, that didn’t need me to monitor, and that inspired my own children to be interested in readingAND writing?  To me, this was a blessing too great not to share.

            I hope that every parent out there supports this young author, purchases his book, and sits back as your own child steps into the imaginative world of Cody and the Hairy Thing.

Cody and the Hairy Thing
By Briton Lafreniere