About the Author
Mark Victor Hansen is a co-founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Hometown:Santa Barbara, California
Date of Birth:August 19, 1944
Place of Birth:Fort Worth, Texas
Education:B.A. in History, Harvard University, 1966; M.A.T. Program, University of Chicago, 1968; M.Ed., U. of Massachusetts, 1973
Read an Excerpt
The Summer of Saving Peep
Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.
One sunny afternoon in June, my sister Jenny and I were walking home from school when we noticed a loud chirping coming from an empty trashcan on the curb. We walked over to it and peered inside. A sad little sparrow was sitting at the bottom of the trashcan, chirping his heart out. His right wing stuck out from his body at a strange angle. Jenny said it was probably broken. She reached in and cupped the bird in her hands, cooing to him so he wouldn't be scared. The sparrow chirped all the way to our house, his little, fuzzy head poking through Jenny’s fingers.
My mom took one look at the little bird and said, “No way! I’m not having another animal in the house.” But once she got a closer look at those big, sad eyes and heard that pathetic chirping, her heart melted. We were counting on that.
Mom sent me into the bathroom for tape and an eyedropper and gently set the sparrow on the kitchen table to get a better look at him. She said his right wing was definitely broken, so she designed a splint out of a Popsicle stick and carefully taped it to his wing. Our dog, Buttons, kept trying to get a look at the bird, but we shooed her away.
Once the splint was on, we fed the bird water with an eyedropper and gave him bits of bread and berries. At first he wouldn't eat, but then after awhile, he wouldn't stop.
The little bird earned the name Peep. We kept him in an old hamster cage, former home of Pepper, the hamster, who’d recently passed away from old age. Every night, we put a towel over the cage, and Peep went right to sleep. And every morning, we put his cage outside and opened the door so he could wander around and get some fresh air. Peep couldn't fly, which seemed to frustrate him. He wasn't used to walking everywhere. Eventually, Peep made friends with Buttons. I swear it's true! Peep would jump onto Button’s back for a free ride around the back yard.
After awhile, Peep's wing got better, and Mom told us it was probably time to take off the splint. We put Peep on the kitchen table, and Mom cut off most of the splint with little scissors. She couldn't get all of it, so there were bits of white tape stuck to his wing, but he didn't seem to mind. He started flapping his wing like crazy, and the next morning when we opened the cage door, he flew about fifty feet into the air before coming back. We watched from the ground like proud parents. From then on, Peep flew further each morning, but he always came back.
Two weeks later, on a Sunday morning, when Jenny let Peep out of his cage, he just kept flying. We left his cage outside with the door open, but he never came home all that day. As it became dark, we faced the truth that Peep would never come back. My mom said he probably found some other sparrows and decided it was time to be with his own kind. My eyes filled with tears, and so did Jenny’s. We all missed Peep a lot—even Buttons, who paced around in front of his cage every morning for weeks.
A few months later, Jenny and I were walking home from school, and a sparrow landed on a low tree branch just ahead of where we were walking. We both stopped and stared at it, amazed. The bird had little bits of white tape stuck to his right wing.
Jenny and I didn't say a word to each other. Peep sat on the branch chirping at us for a couple of seconds, and then he flew off. We watched him join a little flock of sparrows and disappear into the sky with them. We decided that it wasn't one of those crazy coincidences. Peep had come to say a proper good-bye and to thank us for saving his life.
When you carry out acts of kindness, you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel.
Whoosh! Ahhhh . . . the sound of my sled sliding on top of the snow! It was what I had been looking forward to ever since the beginning of winter.
It was a long hike up to the top of the snow hill, the snow crunching under my boots. My arms ached from pulling the sled. The wind tore at my face, and my eyes filled with tears from the cold wind. But it would all be worth it in a minute.
I got to the top of the hill and lay stomach-down on the sled to begin the fast trip down. Everything was a blur as I flew down the hill. Whoosh! There's that great sound! Then I saw something out of the corner of my eye.
When I got to the bottom of the hill, I looked around for what had caught my attention. Then, I saw a woman pushing a shopping cart. The snow-covered sidewalk made it hard for her to walk. As she got closer, I noticed that she had on several thin coats and a couple of hats, and her fingers were showing through her gloves. I knew in an instant that she was a homeless person. She looked very tired, cold and helpless. My heart sank. How could I be enjoying this weather that someone else was dreading?
I watched her struggle to push the cart. I wanted to help her, but what could I do? Then I remembered the church at the top of the hill.
I ran up the hill, dragging the sled through the parking lot and into the church. I saw a man cleaning the floor, and I told him about the woman. He followed me outside. The woman was still struggling up the sidewalk with the cart. The man walked up to her and told her not to be afraid, that he worked at the church and he could help her. He said that the church was taking in homeless people for the weekend, and she was welcome to come inside, have something to eat and get warm.
The homeless woman looked so grateful! I felt so good that I couldn’t stop smiling.
When I went outside, snow was falling softly, and it made me feel peaceful. Once again, I lay on my stomach and started down the hill. Only this time, the wind seemed gentle, my eyes didn’t water from the cold, and I felt warm inside. What a great day!
-Alese Bagdol, 11
©2006. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Kids Soul 2 . No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
Table of Contents
1 Being Kind
The Summer of Saving Peep Yvonne Prinz 2
Winter Warmth Alese Bagdol 5
The Race Heather Klassen 7
Guardian Angel Katy S. Duffield 12
Kid Samaritans Karen L. Landrum 16
The Secret Pals Carla Reimche 20
Miss Feather's Lesson Molly Lemmons 23
My Brother's Gift Emily J. Puffpaff 26
2 Honesty Is Best
Moms Know Everything Emily Rider-Longmaid 30
Oops, I Messed Up Mike Schneider as told to Nance Schneider 32
Vitamins Jaime Johnson 37
What Goes Up Must Come Down Kathleen Whitman Plucker 42
Start with the Truth Michelle Rossi 45
Spelling Bees Alyse Cleaver 48
Stand Up and Stand Tall Karen V. Lombard 51
Herbie, Come Home Terri Meehan 53
3 Having Courage
Help! The Adventures of a Scaredy-Cat Girl Grace Presnick as told to Eileen M. Hehl 60
Saving Mom Laura Ann Lee 65
My Dad, My Hero Moira Rose Donohue 68
Life Is Precious Caitlin Conley 71
"I'm Going to Call Your Mother" Brothers JoAnn Palombo 73
My Big Sister Lauren Durant 77
A Life Saved Rachel A. Maddix 80
The Wrong School Bus: Kate E. Frezon as told to Margaret S. Frezon 83
4 Everyone Is Special
Two Best Friends Gayle Krause 88
The Birthday Helper April Stier 91
William aka Bill Tanya C. Sousa 95
The Measuring Line Beth Savitz Laliberte Harriet May Savitz 99
The Carriage House Victoria Thornsbury 102
Adventure from a Stolen Apple Rosemary K. Breckler 104
5 Doing The Right Thing
Box Puppies Michael Van Gorder 108
The Biggest Surprise Mary Lou De Caprio 111
Responsible Chrissy Diana L. James 115
The Genuine Van Gogh Austin Black Nancy Mikaelian Madey 118
What Kaleidoscope Wanted Most Virginia Kroll 120
Stolen Conscience Brandon Deitrick 123
Happy Camper Margaret S. Frezon 126
6 Being A Good Friend
A True Friend Kelsey Temple 130
The Cool Club Alison Braneim 133
J. W. Alanah Coggins 137
The Girl with a Lot of Freckles Cara Mulhall 139
The Gift of Friendship Ashley Russell 143
A Dog's Love Zu Vincent 145
7 Live And Learn
Lessons in Friendship Tatiana Eugenia 150
A Day in Never-Never Land Teresa Hosier 152
My First Bike Jean Verwey 155
Pelican Watching Donna Getzinger 158
The Purse Amanda Kelly 162
This Is for You, Buddy Christine Middleton 164
The Power of Attitude Melea Wendell 168
What I've Learned So Far ... Multiple Authors 170
Lessons for Sale Karen Waldman 175
8 You Can Do It
The Seed Teresa Sendra-Anagnost 182
Helping Hungry Kids J.J. Kay 185
The Deal Andrea Reese 189
I Will Succeed Elizabeth Jules 191
Swish Ruben Ray Garcia 195
Katie Christopher McConaughy 198
Reaching Goals Emma West 200
Proving Them Wrong Sara Alpert 201
Who Is Jack Canfield? 205
Who Is Mark Victor Hansen? 206
Who Is Patty Hansen? 207
Who Is Irene Dunlap? 208