Chrstina Green: The once and future face of hope
The death of Christina Green, the 9-year-old girl killed in last weekend’s shooting in Tucson, has revived interest in an obscure book, Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11, leaving publisher Health Communications, Inc. to ponder whether to reprint the title of not.
Published on Sept. 11, 2002, Faces of Hope contains pictures of 50 babies — one from each state — born on Sept. 11, 2001. The author of the book, Christine Pisera Naman, is the mother of one of those children. “They were born to provide life, hope and goodness to a world on a day when it needed it most,” she writes in the introduction.
The book was never a big seller for HCI, a publisher of self-help, recovery and New Age titles based in Deerfield Beach, FL. Its biggest success has been with the Chicken Soup series of inspirational books. Faces of Hope never got beyond its initial 10,000-copy printing.
Now with the tragic death of Christina Green, the book has been mentioned on Good Morning America, the Today Show, the Associated Press, Yahoo, and the New York Times. At CBS News.com, Don Faber posted a long tribute to Christina, saying, “She will continue to be a face of hope as Americans seek to recover from the January 8 tragedy in Tucson.”
Naman, quoted in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, seems less sure. She says “Tragedy seems to have happened again.”
A child intended to foster hope for the future at a time of national tragedy has been cut down a decade later in another act of senseless violence, another national tragedy. This kind of narrative symmetry happens only in life. In fiction it would be too flimsy to bear the symbolic weight.
As widely reported, Christina, the granddaughter of former Major League Baseball manager Dallas Green, was a bright, gifted child. She was the only girl on her baseball team, and she’d recently been elected to the student council.
HCI seems to be proceeding with appropriate respect and caution.
Peter Vegso, HCI president and publisher, tells Publishers Weekly that new interest in teh book “caught me off guard.” Director of communications Kim Weiss said Amazan UK sold out its stock of 100 books and ordered more. A Kindle version went on sale Monday, and the book can be ordered from HCI’s website.
Weiss told PW that HCI is considering a new printing of the book, but will watch developments in the marketplace this week before making that decision.
If HCI does go back to press, Vegso says he hopes the book can be a source of renewed hope.
“I found a copy in my home and remembered the spirit this book was published in,” he said. “Maybe it’s time we can see the positive coming out of something so tragic.”