Hospitality is a very special gift. It’s a giving of yourself, from your time, your resources, and your heart. The tales included below are all stories of hospitality in some way or another. The characters here open their homes, their lives, and their hearts to strangers, making new friends along the way. The stories below can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages. I hope you’ll find something to enjoy here!
Spring has arrived and Mole finally emerges from his hole (fed up with spring cleaning) to find a world of breath-taking beauty. Upon his adventures, he discovers the River, and there becomes good friends with Rat, who lives there. A boat ride leads to a deeper friendship, and soon the two are sharing a home and their love of the River, as Rat introduces Mole to a world that is far bigger and more beautiful than anything he could have dreamed up. These two best friends share their adventures with the cantankerous old Badger (who lives deep in the forest and prefers to be left alone) and Toad, who is always caught up in the latest fad, from houseboats to motorcars, causing his companions no end of trouble.
For me, few books contain the warmth and sweetness of Anne of Green Gables. Aging siblings Matthew and Marilla decide it’s time that they had help around their home of Green Gables, so they decide to adopt a young boy to do the chores and some of the heavier work for them. But, a crucial mistake sees their promised boy replaced by a precocious, talkative, over-imaginative girl! As the siblings struggle to decide what to do with her (certainly the best option seems to be to send her back in exchange for a boy), the young girl, Anne Shirley, is ecstatic to have a home of her own, and quickly worms her way into the hearts and lives of the people all around her, until it’s impossible to think of what life could have been like without her.
Hospitality takes a bit of a turn in this story, which starts out in one of the least-hospitable ways possible. When James was young, his parents died in a tragic accident (they were eaten by a rhinoceros) and James has to go and live with his two cruel aunts, Sponge and Spiker. Life is difficult when you’re a young boy, recently orphaned and with terrible guardians, but James soon finds warmth and family and love when a creepy old man gives him a bag of magic, which is accidentally spilled, causing a half-dead peach tree to grow a single, enormous peach! Sneaking inside the giant fruit, James discovers a gaggle of human-sized insect friends, who invite James into their makeshift family and onto the adventure of a lifetime.
This tender, gentle book is one of the sweetest I’ve read in a very long time. There isn’t exactly a set story, and there’s not much I can say without actually reading the book to you, but I can tell you that this is a simple, tender tale of the friendship between a boy, a mole, a fox, and a horse, and how together the four allow each other to grow, to heal, and to become better. From the introduction: “They are all different, like us, and each has their own weaknesses. I can see myself in all four of them, perhaps you can too.” This book is illustrated and hand-lettered by the author, with a gentle vulnerability that is sure to appeal to everyone, whether you’re eight or eighty.
Bob is a crafty crocodile with a big appetite. And he wants nothing more than to eat some delicious birds for lunch. Bob hits upon a brilliant plan: instead of chasing after the birds, he’ll make them come to him…by opening up a fake birdseed restaurant on his nose. When the unsuspecting critters land for a tasty treat–SNAP! But, Bob soon realizes that it’s hard to hurt someone who trusts you, and unwittingly becomes an upstanding member of his community. Will he be able to carry out his dastardly dinner plans? Or will Bob discover that friendship is better than food?