If you were...
What would you do if you were Samuela?
“How can I resolve(化解)my brother's misunderstanding(誤會) against me?”  The examination week always follows right after the Christmas holiday. For some students, they make good use of the break(假期)to study. For others, they prefer not touching on any revision till school resumes(復課). This is the same with Samuela and Samuel. Samuela is totally the former(前者)type. She plans everything in advance(預先)and schedules(安排)her time well between work and play. Samuel, twin brother to Samuela, is just the opposite. He leaves everything to the very last minute and never makes a plan. Sometimes their mom unintentionally(無意地)compares their strength and weakness which creates sibling rivalry(手足競爭).  Samuela understands that her brother is just less mature(成熟)as a boy of the same age as her. She believes as a responsible person, she needs to try her best in everything. Whether it's school work, playing a musical instrument or a sport, Samuela puts in all her effort. She has no intention to win over Samuel at all. Since she pays attention in class, she needs to spend less time in her revision. As for Samuel, he gets distracted(分心)in class, he doesn't take notes(做筆記), and it takes him much longer time to prepare for quizzes or exams. He is very jealous of Samuela’ s success and blames himself for not being as clever. It is time to prepare for the school examination again and he is getting very disagreeable(難相處).   What would you do if you were Samuela?  I'd take no notice(不理會)of my brother at all. As time goes by, he’d be more mature and would understand that it was not my fault that I performed better than him.    I'd share my schedule(時刻表)with my brother and invite him to study while I did so, so we could also have the same rest time and play time. I’d offer to walk through(解釋一遍)all things learnt because when I said it out once, it would also be part of my revision. That would benefit both of us for sure. 
If you were...
What would you do if you were Wright?
“How to pretend I do not know my best friend's secret while I do know ?”  Wright and Webster were assigned( 被編排)to sit together at school many years ago, and that started their close relationship. They have been boon companions(好友)and they always say that people with names starting with a W have the same personality(性格). True or not, they are still best friends till today.  Between the two boys, they have an unspoken(默許)practice of buying the same pair of new sneakers(波鞋)during the first week of a new year. That is not only to show others how close(密切)they are, but more on a practical side(實際方面)—— buying two pairs gets a higher discount offer. The new pair of sneakers will also be the designated(選定)Christmas presents from home, which saves their parents much effort to shop for other things.  Yet this Christmas is different. Webster's father is not doing smooth(順利) with his investment(投資). His whole family has to move to a subdivided unit(劏房)to cut rent(租金)down. His mother, used to be a housewife, is now working part time. Life is not easy as before. Webster seldom talks about this, but it is a fact that everyone knows about at school.  As the usual practice, this weekend is the time for shopping for a new pair of sneakers.  What would you do if you were Wright?  If my good friend was tight on budget(財政緊張), I could ask my parents to pay for him the new sneakers. My parents would be happy to help. He did not deserve(值得)to be deprived(剝削)of anything that he usually had.  To protect my friend’s feeling, I’d suggest that according to our maturity(成熟), we should not use our parents' money any more. Instead we could both get a part time tutoring(補習)job and try saving up our own money for our new pair of sneakers. That would be the best present to our parents to show that we have really grown up. More, there would be no rush to buy anything unless the old pair was worn-out. 
400 400 心讀
聖誕節臨近了,除了禮物、美食和派對外,你有想過聖誕的意義和起源是甚麼嗎?以下兩本繪本各具特色,都和聖誕節有關,看看它們能為你帶來甚麼聖誕奇想。  《Sam's Christmas Wish》 Sam 在聖誕前夕丟了工作,他的心情糟透了, 但Sam 的性格倔強,拒絕別人的幫忙,他最討厭那些「假惺惺」的老好人。在聖誕節那天,廳中神奇地出現了很多禮物,Sam於是致電當警長的朋友想要捉拿送禮的人,但雪地上沒有半點腳印和蹤跡,最後Sam 只好接受這些神秘的饋贈,和家人歡度了一個快樂的聖誕。Sam心存感激,在往後多年也善待別人,他還許下願望要成為別人的秘密天使。Sam 年紀大了,孩子自立成家,太太也過身了,幸好鄰居Gentry 一家常常來探望他。在聖誕前夕,Gentry 一家來為他報佳音,臨走前最小的孩子Ben 緊緊擁抱了Sam。那天晚上,Gentry 家失火,Ben 更被困火場。Sam 偷偷走進火場救出Ben,再悄悄回到家中。當警長朋友發現Sam時,他快要到達生命的盡頭,卻仍帶笑意,因他實現了自己的願望——成為別人的秘密天使。 聖誕的意義,除了有禮物和享受外,更重要是將愛和喜樂帶給身邊的人。Sam 本來是個憤世嫉俗的人,因著別人對他的善意而轉化,變得和善近人,更希望自己能成為別人的秘密天使。幫助別人所獲得的快樂是心靈的富足,是真正的喜樂,也蘊含著聖誕的真義。在這個聖誕節, 你也會成為別人的秘密天使嗎?  《Sun Moon Star》 驟看書名,好像跟聖誕沒有半點關係,但原來故事是從初生小耶穌的視角看身邊的一切。初生嬰兒視覺系統尚未發育完全,看到的東西都是模糊一片的, 於是小耶穌把油燈看成是星星,助產士變成了月亮,聖母瑪利亞則是太陽。從小耶穌出生到三位賢士來朝期間發生的事,作者一一以嬰兒幼嫩迷濛的感官來闡述,視角新奇圖畫抽象,可說是聖誕繪本中別具特色的一本。 聖誕節的起源是紀念小耶穌誕生,祂本是天主子,卻降生成小小嬰孩。這繪本正好突顯小耶穌就和你我一樣,曾經也是脆弱稚嫩的嬰孩,也經歷了人的痛苦。在這個聖誕,讓我們在心中準備一個馬槽,迎接小小耶穌的來臨。 繪本小寶庫 繪本通常由文字和圖像組成,文字和圖像如何交織配合來說故事,在乎作者與繪者的默契與溝通。有時候,作者和繪者是同一人,像是繪本《世界上最美麗的村子》和《我和弟弟一起走》等,作者和繪者皆是小林豊;在《拐杖狗》和《旗魚王》中,李如青同時是作者和繪者。這種作繪合一的做法,省了溝通的麻煩,也更能突顯作者的獨特風格。另一種常見的安排是「最佳拍檔」,作者和繪者多次合作,已培養良好的默契,共同創作的系列也具有特定風格,像是竹下文子和鈴木守創作的車車繪本系列;Jackie French 和 Bruce Whatley 合作的《Diary of a Wombat 》系列便是很好的例子。 《Sun Moon Star》則採用了非常特別的方法,先由繪者繪畫圖像,繪者不告訴作者圖像中的意念,只交予作者自由發揮配上文字。這就像作曲家先作曲,再由填詞人按靈感填上歌詞。雖然這種做法沒有默契可言,卻為繪本帶來了新鮮感。
If you were...
What would you do if you were Rosette?
“ I cannot focus with all the singing and chatting outside in the sitting room no matter how hard I try. Oh dear, it will be hours like this. How can I ever finish my homework ! ”  Rosette is a very earnest(認真)girl, she cares for(關注)her studies a lot. Just that she also has ADD, which stands for Attention Deficit Disorder(注意力缺失症). She can be distracted(分心)by a fly flying by or the noise of a dripping tap (滴水的水龍頭). Music to her is also a distraction, she needs complete silence. Still, she works triple hard to overcome(克服)her symptoms(症狀). She has very high achievement at school.  Rosette comes from a devoted(虔誠) Catholic family. Every third Saturday of the month, her parents organize a prayer meeting at home for other Catholic neighbours to worship(敬拜)together. After that, there is always a casual(簡單)dinner with simple food for fellowship(聯誼). Since they have no maid, her mother is the cook. She always starts preparing food after worshipping, which takes her an hour and a half. While she is cooking, the group will sing and talk, creating much noise, which of course disturbs Rosette from her revision. So every third Saturday night, Rosette knows she cannot focus and finds it a headache. Since the gathering starts at 6:30pm, one hour of worship, one and a half hours of chatting(mainly waiting for food). People then slowly disperse(散去)after ten.  Rosette is always a generous(慷慨) person, and she doesn’t blame her parents for entertaining Christian neigbours. Of course God likes it when we share, whether it’s our place, food, time or our talent(才能). But she doesn’t know what to do if the flat is so noisy for the whole night.     What would you do if you were Rosette?   I’d honestly tell my parents to control the noise level and put on a headphone so I might cut off all the noise from the sitting room. I’d read out(讀出聲)everything I would be reading or writing so I could hear nothing but my own voice.  Since I could not focus on my work anyway, I’d help my mom to prepare the simple dinner and once they finished worshipping, dinner could start immediately and they could leave earlier. This way I’d also make the neigbours feel more welcome.