Thursday, March 25, 2010

Patrick's Wish

It isn't often that a picture book can make me cry: I suppose that it is only to be expected that a book about a boy who contracted the HIV virus because of a tainted blood transfusion is bound to provide its fair share of sadness.

Yet, as a friend of mine pointed out, when a "message book" is able to educate without having its message overwhelm the text, it will be a successful book. Patrick's Wish is told from the point of view of his younger sister, Lyanne, who knew that Patrick had hemophilia and needed to have transfusions, but "that was just the way it was with Patrick." The day that Patrick told Lyanne that he had HIV, their lives changed only in that she became one of his "secret keepers," he was the same loving big brother to her and he in turn shared his wish with her, that someday a cure for AIDS would be found.

Patrick went on to tell more people, first family, then friends and his school: reactions differed, as indeed many people are afraid of AIDS. Knowing the truth about AIDS would help keep people from being afraid of the disease, and Patrick, who had once hoped to be a doctor, thought that he in turn could help people by speaking about the disease. Lyanne, in writing her book and sharing Patrick's story, is helping to spread Patrick's wish. The book concludes with a list of Some Things Patrick Would Want You to Know About HIV and AIDS.

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