Every year Vivian Kirkfield hosts a 50 precious words contest. A challenge, yes, and one that pushes me to consider how a story can be told in very few words. Writing picture books is really hard, and it still comes as a surprise when I can slash words from my story to make it even tighter. Ever word matters. My entry this year points to an article I read back in 2017, but the article came out in 2015, about a 109-year old Australian man who knit sweaters for injured penguins. It really tugged at my heart so I wanted to write a little something in honor of that sweet man.
A SWEATER FOR PENGUIN
By Lori Himmel (50 words)
Wings are for flying, but you don’t soar.
The ocean is your sky. Zip. Zoom.
Do those scratches hurt?
Bandages slip off your wet suit.
Knit one, purl two.
Vibrant colors collide.
I am old.
You should live long too.
Here, a sweater.
Wear it in good health, penguin friend.