When The Elephants DanceI went to the library to find a good read and I stumbled across the book When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe. I always read the first page of the book before I take it home with me. Scanning the excerpt and first paragraph, I was immediately convinced this story would not only be wonderful, but could tell me more about the colors, history and lifestyle of the Philippines. It takes place near Cavite during World War II. Holthe captures my attention with her first sentence, “Papa explains the war like this: ‘When the elephants dance, the chickens must be careful.’ The great beasts, as they circle one another, shaking the trees and trumpeting loudly, are the Amerikanos and the Japanese as they fight. And our Philippine Islands? We are the small chickens.” The analogy hits home with me as I think about the devastation World War II must have caused the Filipino people, having their home ransacked with bombing and death without being able to take a stand with either side. In this story, I read about what lengths people are willing to go in search for food and to care for their families. I read about the honor and courage it takes to fend for one’s life. I read about the struggle and pain a country can suffer from starvation and poverty. After reading this novel, I admire the strength and heart it takes to endure a hard life and I can only hope to show the same kind of strength and heart in my own life. I believe the organizations, non-profits, and everyday people who give their time, energy, and love to aid in ending a life of suffering show exactly the kind of heart and strength I am looking for.