Harriet Rowland, The Book of Hat Submarine Books (Mākaro Press) 2014
Storylines Notable Book 2015
NZ Children’s Book Awards finalist 2015
LIANZA Elsie Locke Award finalist 2015
Runner-up Ashton Wylie Awards 2014
This astonishing book is for older readers, perhaps even high school at a minimum, but I wanted to share it with you. Harriet was diagnosed with a rare cancer when she was 17 and kept a blog as she underwent treatment. Those blogs were then edited down to become The Book of Hat.
The book is a magnificent and utterly moving read because Hat (she is called Hat rather than Harriet) takes you into the heart of her tough experience. She is honest. She is up and she is down. She finds ways to be unbelievably happy when she could be so very very sad. She holds onto the good in life, the best in people, the way little things can make such a difference.
Her family and friends matter more than anything.
When she is going through her hardest challenges, she finds ways to embrace life more and more. Even more so, when she discovers she is dying.
There are lot of sayings in the book that she discovered or that friends gifted her. They were like golden gifts she could put in her heart to strengthen her. This is one of my favourites: ‘I didn’t stop for the storm to pass. I simply learnt how to dance in the rain.’
She often says how things might be bad for her, but how things might be so much worse for others.
She was worried more about the loved ones she was going to leave behind and they way they would miss her so much.
What an extraordinary young woman. What a gift she has given us. This book is uplifting because it shows how you can find courage, love and happiness when you are facing the most terrible blows that life can deal you. The writing sparkles with life. With joy. With fatigue. With love.
It makes me want to go out and live life to the fullest, whatever hurdles and blows I face.
Thank you Hat. Thank you Mākaro Press for publishing it.
The Book of Hat web page.