Friday, January 21, 2011

Ben's Book

by Lois Jamieson
Ben came to StarShine in a small wheel chair. During the time he was at Starshine, he touched the hearts of all the teachers and students. Ben’s positive outlook and wonderful smile was an inspiration to all who met him. Ben would “wheel” around the campus always knowing he was in a safe and welcoming environment.
One day at recess while walking across the campus, I noticed that the elementary students were having great fun running around, throwing balls and climbing on the playground equipment. And then I saw Ben sitting in his wheelchair on the sidelines.
As good ideas sometimes suddenly come to you, I went over to Ben and asked him if he would like to spend his time with me in the library. Maybe we could write a book together. He liked the idea so much that he beat me to the library. Once we were settled in the library Ben and I discussed just how we would write the book. Ben decided that he would tell me the story and I would write it down for him and offer suggestions. He wanted the book to be about him and he wanted to be a pirate named Rapscallion. So that became the name of the book and off we went.
I’d like to share a small section of the book with you:

By Ben

You may think that Ben is an ordinary boy. And you may think that all pirates are bad. You would be wrong if you thought this way. Here is why. Ben is in the 2nd grade in school. He goes to school five days a week, but on the weekends he is a pirate. He is a very good pirate helping other people. His pirate name is Rapscallion!

The first thing that Ben does on Saturday mornings is put on his pirate suit. Then he leaves a note for his Mommy, climbs out of his bedroom window and walks to Sky Harbor Airport. He climbs into his small private prop plane named StarShine. The tower gives him permission to take off. Ben gives them a “thumbs up” and flies straight up into the blue sky. It only takes him an hour to reach his destination, a small island off the coast of California. This is where he keeps his pirate ship called StarShine 11. Once there he boards the ship and away he goes looking for a new adventure.

At this point, I asked Ben where he wanted to go and he said, “New York City!” I told him that would be a pretty long trip, but we could go through the Panama Canal and make it a little bit shorter. “No” he said, “I want to go all the way around the bottom of South America.” At this point I knew we needed a map. I also began to realize this could be a history lesson. 
There were many island adventures where Rapscallion saved people and picked up crewmen. Most of the crewmen were named after school friends. On one of these adventures Rapscallion arrived at the Panama Canal, but unfortunately it was closed down because of terrorists. After many scary adventures Rapscallion and his crew continued sailing down the coast of South America.
Rapscallion’s biggest adventure came when he sailed close to the Galapagos Islands and found that some “really bad pirates” were stealing the giant turtles that lived on the islands. But Rapscallion had a plan and saved all of the turtles. The next day he sailed to Lima, Peru for a rest.
On another adventure Rapscallion decided to look for a watch dog to take on his ship. Rapscallion paid 30 pesos for the best dog he could find and called the dog Leo.
At this point in the story, Ben had to leave the school to have yet another surgery. I never saw him again. But I’ll always remember Ben and what he told me the last time I saw him, “I’ve been at StarShine for three years and I like being here because everyone here helps people. The kids at StarShine treat me good and the food here is good, too.”
If you would like to read more about Ben, his adventures, the full story of Rapscallion or many other stories about inspirational children check out our upcoming book Kids Without Stuff 
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