Last year, I purchased a book from First Book titled, The Legends of Luke Skywalker, by Ken Liu.
Total side note, if you’ve not all ready heard of First Book and are in the education field, have your own kids, have kids who are relatives, just like kids, then this is for you. They are able to get books from many different genres, age levels, languages, just about anything you can imagine, and they are at an inexpensive price. They also offer school supplies, basic supplies, free resources, ebooks, activities, and a book bank were you can purchase a multi-pack of books for the cost of shipping. Now, these are not best sellers, but many are recognized by students, so I feel good about purchasing a bunch, putting them in my library, and if they don’t come back, that’s ok.
Yes, it is an awesome resource!
Anyway, I purchased this book last year and didn’t get it read. So, after I read The President’s Daughter, by Bill Clinton and James Patterson (an absolutely incredible book), I went through my book pile and found this one. As I started, I was not impressed as it was a slow beginning. A group on a outer space transport barge is bickering back and forth after a long voyage, but they sit down for dinner and start talking about Luke Skywalker. The first story is how all of the Star Wars saga was basically a media lie and that Luke Skywalker’s name is actually Luke Clodplodder.
I know, right? I about threw the book across the room, but in that story, a mysterious man in a cloak is alway asking questions about the events that are being told. And that’s the way the story is told, Luke is never the main character in any of the stories, but he’s always present, doing something for those in the story. My favorite “legend” was told from the point of view of a very intelligent flea who told the story that he was controlling Luke on Tatooine during the Return of the Jedi scene where Luke tries to use the Force on Jabba the Hut, then falls through a trap door into the rancor’s pen and the following scene where they are taken to be fed to the Sarlacc. This story made me giggle a number of times as Luke is portrayed by the flea as a clueless person who believe that the flea is, in fact, the Force talking to him! We even get a droid’s perspective, talking about how Luke dressed up as a droid to save R2-D2 from a horrible fate in a far away opal mining planet.
I won’t go too much further than that about the book, but the group swapping stories learn some interesting facts about Luke and about themselves.
So, I highly recommend this book to most middle school classes or anyone who is Star Wars fan. This book was silly and scary and took you to places you never thought you’d go. It’s an easy read, but one where you are always wondering what the next story will bring.
There were three quotes that I put sticky notes by as I’ll hype this book in class at some point. The first, Luke is talking to someone from a planet that is far out in the galaxy, whose people are strong with the Tide, another way of looking that the Force. They are flying giant birds in the midday heat. He’s shading his guide, a much younger being than him, and she take offense to it. He’s explaining how, as team, one can draft, or benefit from the formation, then allow others to do the same, giving everyone an equal chance. She tells him that she’s his guide and replies:
I once carried my teacher on my shoulders. That doesn’t make him any less of a teacher. A lot of things in life are better when you build some balance into them, shading other and being shaded, being uplifted and uplifting others. Wielding the Force is able balance.
And that’s about a quarter way into the book and I was hooked. Well, I was hooked before that, but that got me. How many times could we shade others, uplift them, and find balance in our lives. How many times have we been like the young guide, offended or worse because we fear someone is doing something that might give us the perception of being weak? How many times do we plow through something and not ask for help? This quote helps me to understand that, yes, we can be the uplifter AND be uplifted. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help, but finding balance in our own lives.
The second quote comes from this same legend. Luke wanted to bring members of the community with him, to train, and he’d been told if he succeed in the challenge this would happen. He fails at a challenge, and is gracious in his defeat. This is what he tells the Elder in the conversation about this failure:
And there are more way to serve good than by fighting and confronting evil. You also serve the good by standing guard and maintaining pools of tranquillity and peace: you also rebuke evil by showing that there is another way than death and warfare. We are all connected through the Tide, and there’s a time and place to rest, as well as a time and place to act.
This one made me not put the book down the rest of the day (my wife was not happy). How many times do we feel we must always be acting? Sometimes, the best action is no action. When we create that safe place, that place of peace, whether in our homes, our classrooms, our social media, where ever, THAT is our action. When we talk in calm, controlled voice to our students, we are standing guard and “rebuking” what we do not want to see in them. I like how he allows that idea of a time to rest and a time to act.
Finally, the friends get to their destinations, and they are moving apart, one of the friends talks about the Tide, and how it drew them together, for that night, to share in an adventure none of them will ever forget.
From now on, no matter how far apart we are from each other, we’ll be connect by this shared experience, by this night. This is our story, and it’s the best story of all of them.
We’re all Luke Skywalker, said G’kolu, his horns standing straight up jauntily.
We’ve uplift each other, said Tyra.
This one gave me tears. To share a collective experience is to share in something that no one can ever take away. That’s why I love concerts, parties, those things that bring people together for a common purpose or goal. In a couple of weeks, Iowa Irish Fest will be happening and we’ll be right up front as Gaelic Storm is singing about drinking songs or some other foolish thing and those collective experiences that we’ll all have can never be undone. This is why I hope we can, someday, get our sixth grade campout up and running again because it’s not the lessons kids talk about at their graduation parties, it’s campout.
So, my hope for you, that you have a “we are all Luke Skywalker” moment this summer. That you uplift and are uplifted, that you find that place of peace, and that you find a story to tell.
Because in the end, we all need something to believe in.
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