The power of love
I had not long been writing and illustrating, so I was really touched when someone messaged me through Instagram to ask if they could share a story with me. They had hoped I could create the words and illustrations to tell their story for a younger audience. I was delighted to meet up and see if it might be something I could help with.
Prior to meeting, I was sent a photo which showed a young boy sat on the knee of a famous dictator with a lady sat beside them. “That young boy is me and that lady is my mum” he told me.
Following this striking photo, I wasn't sure what to expect and, over coffee, I listened intently as he recalled a painful tale of living under an oppressive regime as a child. A regime which had been responsible for holding his father captive under immensely traumatic conditions for several years. Somehow, his mother had found incredible courage to plan a way to free his father and flee the country to start a new life. In the process of her plan unfolding, this photo was taken, capturing the moment where 'mamma bear stood up to the wolves' as it was described to me. (It isn't my story to share, so the photo and details will remain confidential)
The account was uncomfortable to listen to. Yet it was told with incredible positivity and endless gratitude for the new life which followed. Respect for the woman who had made that possible filled every sentence, and a desire to celebrate her bravery was at the heart of our meeting.
On my way home, it was impossible not to be distracted by thoughts of the story I'd just heard and my mind whirred with ideas of how to do justice to her courage and bravery and in a way which would be suitable for young ears.
it is rare that an idea comes to mind while I'm beside a pen and paper. And on this day it was no different. Words sprang to mind as I drove home and I pulled over into a lay-by and started to write Mamma Moved Mountains.
I wanted to create a testament to the courage of a mother's love, the kind which lifts cars in an emergency, and truly knows no bounds. The kind that reminds us that the impossible is sometimes possible and that one person can change the world.
That week I wrote and illustrated Mamma Moves mountains and shared it with the man I'd met.
What he had envisaged didn’t quite fit with what I’d created and, for such a personal story, we agreed that he might be best creating it himself or trying again with someone new. I was however, unbelievably honoured to have heard his story and happy to share this uplifting verse and illustration as a celebration of the unstoppable power of love.
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix