Indie YA Wolves Book Club

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Esther Earl & Why This Star Won’t Go Out – Part Two






























Nothing More Than Feelings By Esther Earl (cookie4monster4 – vid 7/August 9)

Introduction

There are four main subjects I want to cover in this second part of IndieYAbooks Tribute to Esther Earl.
  • First of all, I will post a couple of videos made by Esther herself, so that you see the reality of her life as a teenager suffering with Cancer.
  • I was very curious when I first saw photographs of Esther with one of her (and our) idols John Green, and Lori Earl kindly explained how that came about.
  • I want to tell you about Esther’s incredible book ‘This Star Won’t Go Out’.
  • Last, but most definitely not least, I want to tell you about the charity for youngsters who are still suffering with Cancer today.
Video Diary
As the cancer gradually worsened and Esther couldn’t get out as much as she would have liked, she began recording her days on video for all to see. Esther’s natural vibrancy, her warm heart and humour soon captivated the YouTube audience and she had a huge following. I posted the video above first, because it is an inkling into the emotional strain , the loneliness and isolation, and the constant fear that she dealt with on a daily basis. I have watched almost all of the videos she uploaded just to get a sense of the young girl’s personality, her dreams, obviously her very real fear, along with her joy, her energy, and the love she had for her family. Esther is a typical teenager in many respects, but one who carried the weight of a painful and uncertain future, and yet you will find no self-pity in the videos you watch. She bore her illness with an extraordinary cloak of dignity and acceptance, seldom seen in an adult, let alone a child. Check out the videos and see for yourself here: https://www.youtube.com/user/cookie4monster4

How John Green Met Esther

John actually mentions in the above video, how he got involved with Esther, and how Harry Potter played his part in their ‘weird, internet based, cross-generational friendship’. He also mentions Nerdfighteria, which is an awesome internet community for people of similar skills and interests: http://nerdfighteria.org/ 
I asked Lori Earl the question above, and here is the answer she gave me:
“Esther found John Green through Harry Potter.  She was an avid fan, and when she was still 11 she found Hank Green’s tribute song to Harry Potter.  That led her to the Vlogbrothers, and to John Green’s books.  She became an enthusiastic and involved Nerdfighter, helping to found the Eff Yeah Nerdfighters site.  There is a beautiful note that John wrote to Esther, found in her book, following their 2 days together during her Make-A-Wish in July 2010.  I’m not surprised John was taken by Esther; after all, I’m her mother!  But he himself says that it was her voice in the midst of her illness, that inspired his novel, The Fault In Our Stars.  She would have been thrilled and honored that he chose to dedicate his book to her.  Esther changed my life – amazingly, she seems to continue to change lives through her words still today.” 
By March 2009, she had gotten a wig, and with oxygen-in-tow attended the first LeakyCon (a Harry Potter fandom convention), which by a stroke of luck took place in Boston!  There she met John Green for the first time – she was a huge fan, and had read all his books.  Over the months ahead, Esther got more involved in the internet world, creating videos, joining The Harry Potter Alliance, and making a tight network of friends who named themselves Catitude.  With her limited outside exposure, these became her real worlds, and brought her the community, love and purpose she sought.” Lori Earl

This Star Won’t Go Out – The life and Words of Esther Grace Earl

esther earl-TSWGO-cover

“On the internet, she wasn’t Esther Earl who has cancer and an oxygen tank. She was Esther CrazyCrayon the funny girl in Catitude.” John Green

This Star Won’t Go Out is so much more than a dying child’s memoirs – It is a heartbreaking, yet uplifting account of a courageous and caring girl faced with the diabolical scenario of knowing that she has a terminal illness. She knew her life would be cut short, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, she decided to get the utmost out of the life that was given to her.
“We never hid from the fact that her diagnosis was terminal, and neither did Esther.  We hoped for many years, and they were cut far too short.  Losing her is something not one of our family will ever recover from–but that doesn’t mean we stop living, or growing, or loving.  But grief is like a hole.  You can fill it in, and plant flowers around it, but you are always aware it remains.  My husband threw himself into writing the biography of Esther he had promised her he’d do.  I started a foundation to help other families, knowing first hand that the financial stress of bills when your child is sick are so hard to deal with.  Missed work, lost pay – worries mount, yet all you want to do – and should do – is worry about your child and spend time with her.” Lori Earl
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The family Earl possess the same disposition as their daughter –  with unique and huge hearts, they convert their pain and loss into a selfless force for good! They have compiled Esther’s words with their own, created a heartfelt memoir – they have raised, and are still raising, an enormous amount of funds for a charity helping youngsters, parents, siblings, who are going through the same horror with their own families.
“So This Star Won’t Go Out was born, started by the very bracelets designed for Esther by a childhood friend for her Make-A-Wish event in July 2010.  John Green attended, and because he wore her bracelet, after her death, fans started buying them–that money became the start of TSWGO.org.  By the end of this summer, we’ll have given out over $200,000 to help families going through the journey of a child diagnosed with cancer.  These gifts go to pay rent, utilities, and other needs that happen because of pediatric cancer.  TSWGO also hosts an annual caricature artist day at Boston Children’s Hospital’s oncology ward, where kids get to become sports stars, princesses, and superheroes on beautiful framed paper!  We anticipate growing into additional support and pediatric cancer advocacy areas in the years ahead.” Lori Earl

How Can You Get Involved?


“Another way to get involved in the spirit of our foundation is to celebrate Esther Day (estherday.org), a holiday each August 3rd (Esther’s birthday) created by John and Hank Green and dedicated to love, family and friends.  Also, follow us on social media, and promote our mission and goals! (see our website for social media links, tswgo.org).”  Lori Earl
“The way we make sure that Esther’s star truly never goes out is not only to remember her personally, but also to celebrate her day the way she wanted us to: by making sure that the people we love know that we love them.”  
  • Donate:

  • Host Fundraisers

“We encourage supporters to host fundraisers, since your dollars make a difference for families!  The limit is only your creativity – individuals and groups have hosted live-streamed video games, sold cookies, made stuffed animals, planned a community carnival, collected donations in lieu of birthday gifts, had concerts and battle-of-the-bands, run races and even done a rock-a-thon (rocking in rocking chairs for 24 hours!)”  Lori Earl
  • Follow, share, like, comment, tweet and generally do your utmost to spread the word about TSWGO.org!

I found everything I needed to know about Esther, her book, TSWGO.org, and so on, by reading an article on the internet. The more people that know about her, her family, and their amazing charity, the more money will be raised for their cause. Perhaps you are at school or college, and could motivate your teachers and friends to organise a fund-raising event? You will find tools to help you do that in the links posted below. Maybe run a sponsored race, or sponsored spell, or even a sponsored silence! I did that once as a kid, and I warn you that is the most difficult of tasks, and extremely hard-earned cash for charity! I’m still traumatised by the silence now! I suggest that you climb a large hill somewhere in preference to that particular event! There are so many, many ways you can help!
I’ll finish with the links below, and a video that screams out to the world the true nature of the inspirational, the courageous, and the absolute loveliness of Esther Grace Earl!


Gripping Read!!

Dragonman: Face of the UnknownDragonman: Face of the Unknown by Ted Lazaris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an edge of the seat story, which begins smack bang in the middle of an apocalyptic event. The end of the world is a topic which has intrigued mankind since the beginning of time, but in this story it is just the beginning; not the final annihilation of humankind. The foreign object hurtling towards the earth is merely the first sting of a battle that will consume the heavens above and the earth below.
The threat introduces the DragonMan; a superhero already living on our planet, with access to different worlds such as ‘Spellville’; and he is not alone with his incredible abilities, of which more are revealed as the story continues. His family, with which he runs the family business ‘Starr Investigations’, are also endowed with their own fascinating skills, which invite further investigations of their own. Other characters from Spellville include ’Plupee’ and ‘Dooley’ who add a little light comedy in the midst of such dark and dangerous occurrences. Another lead character is Nathan, who has no abilities except for his skill with a pen. Luke and Nathan's lives become intertwined in the midst of the first catastrophe, and when Nathan has a series of personal disasters, he seeks out their firm for help. Thus begins a rollercoaster of explosive tragedies, spectacular fantasy, and murder mystery. The Author leads you through each one in a well written, intriguing and captivating way.

In summary I would advise that you set the scene to read this novel. Get your cocoa, your pyjamas, and go to your private place; switch off the tv and ignore the kids for a while, and step into Ted Lazaris complex and fascinating world of the unusual, the bizarre, and the downright terrifying creatures you are about to meet.


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