Surviving her brain injury Angela Halgrimson brings to life “Lenny the Crow”

November 23, 2013

As a mother my hope is to surround my daughter with positive people who inspire and encourage her. Tonight I feel successful. Thank you, Angela Halgrimson. Thank you, Mikki. I, too, am inspired.

Angela Halgrimson is assisted by Mikki during her reading of

Angela Halgrimson is assisted by Mikki during her reading of Lenny the Crow at the Maplewood Barnes & Noble

Angela Halgrimson reads her book

Angela Halgrimson reads her book “Lenny the Crow”.

A mother and daughter enjoy "Lenny the Crow" read by Angela Halgrimson, the author.

A mother and daughter enjoy “Lenny the Crow” read by author Angela Halgrimson.

An aspiring writer and artist meets Angela Halgrimson, the author of "Lenny the Crow".

An aspiring writer and artist meets Angela Halgrimson, the author of “Lenny the Crow”.

Mikki from Barnes & Noble presents Destiny with a signed copy of "Moo!" encouraging her to keep writing and drawing and reading.  Wow!

Mikki from Barnes & Noble presents Destiny with a signed copy of “Moo!” encouraging her to keep writing and drawing and reading. Wow!

Until November 22, 2013, I had never been to a Barnes & Noble for a book reading. Boy, have I been missing out. Not only did my daughter Destiny and I enjoy a reading of “Lenny the Crow”, we had the opportunity to meet the author, Angela Halgrimson, and her kind assistant, Mikki. We asked questions, discussed writers and illustrators, showed the two women a picture Destiny drew recently, and . . . purchased a few signed copies of “Lenny the Crow” for our home and for the homes of some dear friends. After all, who doesn’t love a story about farmers and animals and love and bravery? It’s a wonderful Christmas gift. Destiny smiled and held tight the bookmark Angela gave her.

In mid-conversation sharing with this author how Destiny, too, loves to write and draw, Mikki (who works for the Maplewood Barnes & Noble) disappeared. When she returned, she had in her hand a signed poster of “Moo!” Handing it to my daughter she said with a smile, “You keep drawing.”

Destiny’s face lit up like a Christmas tree, and of course, we then purchased “Moo”, too. The memories and the magic of the evening didn’t stop there. After storytelling Angela Halgrimson sat with my daughter and I in the Barnes & Noble cafe. She told us a little about herself and how she came to write “Lenny the Crow”, and what she told us is amazing.

Suffering Eclampsia, while giving birth to her son, Angela Halgrim’s heart stopped. Doctors were able to revive her, but the path that lay before her had many obstacles. In addition to a newborn, Angela herself had to relearn to walk, talk, live.

“I was told I couldn’t hold him,” she said.

Can you imagine? A new mom and you can’t hold your baby. Your life, in more ways than one, has changed drastically.

It took Angela Halgrimson six months of rehab to be able to walk again. She smiled, “I still have my cane. It reminds me where I was and how far I’ve come.”

When her son was eight months old, Angela had a visit from Lenny, her husband’s good friend studying to become a priest. Lenny had come to give Angela some words of encouragement. That night after he left, something wonderful happened.

“My husband tells me I woke up and frantically looked for something to write on,” Angela explained. “There was this sense of urgency and it was like I was in a trance.”

What came from Angela’s dream is what we now know as “Lenny the Crow”.

After being a hairstylist for 21-years, Angela Halgrimson is on a new adventure as a talented author. She enjoys reading to children and goes when she can (free of charge) to schools throughout Minnesota.

Regarding her brain and her memories, some of which she has lost, she says, “It’s like going on a trip. Some things get packed and some don’t. Sometimes your luggage gets lost and you get it back, and sometimes you don’t.”

So I asked: Is it like the movie “50 First Dates”?

Angela laughed, “Not that bad, but similar in a way.”

I loved “Lenny the Crow” before, but after talking to Angela Halgrimson and realizing what she has gone through in life – what she has overcome to share this story – I love it even more.

Her son Jacob was ten when “Lenny the Crow” was published. He was the first to receive a copy of his mom’s amazing book. And Lenny the priest? He enjoys bringing “Lenny the Crow” around to catholic schools for a reading, too.

“I’m blessed because I’ve been put here twice,” Angela Halgrimson said.

How lucky we all are that she has. If you have the opportunity to check out “Lenny the Crow”, please do. If you can make it to a reading and meet Angela Halgrimson, please do. I believe you will leave filled with joy and inspiration and love, just as my daughter and I did. Thank you again, Angela Halgrimson and Mikki, for a Friday evening my daughter and I cherish.

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