Friends since pre-K, two boys from New Jersey get together to co-author a book on how friends can help heal hearts.
Harry Zuckerman, a resident of Bergen County, NJ, was born with a congenital birth defect in his heart. He was operated on when he was a baby and a second time at age 6. For many elementary-aged children, this would be a terrifying experience. But Harry has many friends, and one particularly special one named Kyle Pearlman.
Authors Harry Zuckerman (right) and Kyle Pearlman. Photo courtesy Jeff Pearlman
Kyle and Harry met at camp the summer before they started kindergarten. They share a love of tennis, sushi, and rollercoasters (the scarier the better). Following Harry's second operation, Kyle visited him at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. The visit helped Harry focus his attention away from his surgery and recover more quickly than the doctors expected.
Fast-forward seven years: Harry and Kyle, now seventh-graders, are celebrating their Bar Mitzvahs and need to do a Mitzvah project. A Mitzvah means to do a good deed, so for their project the boys decided to recount the hospital visit in a book they co-wrote called "Friends Help Hearts Heal." The brightly colored illustrations that accompany their story were done in Sharpies by the boys and friend Cristina Soares.
With 150 copies sold since the book debuted in November, Harry and Kyle have certainly accomplished their mitzvahs. Not only does the story give encouragement to other children and families facing medical problems, but all proceeds raised from the book are being donated to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at The Hackensack University Medical Center and the Babies Heart Fund at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, now known as the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. Harry and Kyle have also been asked to read their book at several schools. No doubt they have earned themselves a few California rolls and a ride on Six Flags Great Adventure's Kingda Ka, Harry's favorite rollercoaster.