It seems like every other weekend I’m invited to a child’s birthday. It’s a very springy thing to do actually, sipping bubbly in a back yard with a bunch of two-year-olds running around. But every time I prepare for one of these parties, I face the same challenge: finding a present that isn’t lame, hokey, violent, or big and plastic. Recently, one of my surf buddies actually set up a Mercy Corps child support donation kit and also asked for used toys only, which I thought was cool. But I just so happened to come across this book, Way of the Bird, that I couldn’t resist giving to his son. Co-written by illustrator Andy Davis and surf filmmaker Andrew Kidman, the book is filled with inspiring drawings and photographs. It’s a simple story about a boy who discovers an old man surfing at the beach and is captivated by wave riding. The old man teaches him how to surf, shapes him a board, and passes on to him a respect of a surfer’s life in harmony with the ocean.
After reading a few pages to his son at the party last week, my friend looked up and thanked me for the gift, acknowledging that it was as much for him as for the little guy, who had already run off to chase a dog.