Kids running across grass underneath a lifted rainbow parachute

The Magic of Beautiful Things

By Jodi Anderson-Wolhaupter

Date Posted 5/21/2021

“People, there is real magic in your life,” Minnesota Hmong author Kao Kalia Yang told our Kids4 group gathered on Zoom. After reading her touching book, The Most Beautiful Thing, Kalia graciously answered some very good questions from our young readers!
During our conversation, in a soft voice that flows like a smooth river from one gem of an idea to another, Kalia shared these details and observations about life:
-To my grandmother, a plane was an iron eagle.
-She saw the woman jumping from chair to chair, and her fingernails were turning into claws. When the woman disappeared, people did not know where she had gone, but my grandmother knew: She was in the jungle. She had turned into a tiger.
-Rainbows are dragons coming out to drink.
-My five-year-old son said, “You have the most beautiful smile.” I never think I do. Maybe I have work to do on loving myself more.
-I love the taste of bone broth, but my son likes macaroni and cheese. People have different tastes, and that’s okay.
-And a special Hmong secret that shall remain secret between the moon and those who dare to point at it.
There was real magic in Becker Park on May 1, too. Setting up our tent and laying out snacks and craft activities, we made a gathering space for friends and strangers to come together and be welcomed. It was a rainbow of diversity shining out from the center of our little corner of the world, much like the colorful panels of pink, yellow, green, and blue fanning out from the center of our group’s parachute. If you want to remember magic, sit for a minute in the domed world under a parachute. Look at the light play off delighted faces, bouncing around with a glee echoed in their squealing laughter. Listen to the rhythm of the wind flapping the material, making a sail come to life miraculously over land. And feel the power of the many hands, big or small, holding up a piece of the circle--a lovely technicolor sky.
On May 14, the heartfelt cards and pictures made for seniors were delivered to the Brooklyn Center Meals on Wheels program. There was definitely real magic in how our kids transformed coloring book pages into vibrant special placemats. The glossy touch of laminate plastic made each placemat feel like extra attention was given to it, and that will help our seniors feel extra love. Our Kids4 gifts will likely last a long time and make some seniors’ meals feel more cheery. Gladys at Meals on Wheels said in a kind voice, “The seniors will love these! You all are doing great work!” And her brown eyes smiled even when her mask covered her mouth.
Magic is finding another dimension underneath, within, beyond, around this first-seen reality.
It is the stuff of second-looks and wide-eyed belief.
It’s that electric sensation that another energy--love, wonder, mystery--is coursing through the air.
Where might we find such magic?
-In a vibrant picture book.
-In a welcoming look.
-In the courage to meet a new friend.
-In a neighborhood park on a warm spring day.
-In anything that helps you stop and say to the world
-“Wow, that’s a beautiful thing.”

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