Jake Green attacked a bully who pummeled his best friend, Sam Medina, two days after 9/11 — because Sam is an Arab Muslim.
The scene that unfolded in Ramblewood Middle School’s cafeteria in Coral Springs wasn’t a cause for alarm. It was a reenactment from Kerry O’Malley Cerra’s debut novel, “Just a Drop of Water.”
“It’s a story about hope, doing the right thing and standing up for what you believe in,” said Cerra, of Coral Springs, who signed copies of her book for the 300 or so on hand. “Jake learns to stand up for what he believes in, but in a peaceful way.”
Jake was portrayed by J.P. Taravella High School student Griffin Cerra, her oldest son.
Taravella drama students Max Hernandez (Sam) and Daniel Agmon (Bobby, the bully) teamed up with Cerra to illustrate the novel’s mission — to look at 9/11 through the lens of a young boy who is desperately trying to understand the ramifications of this life-altering event.
“It was a great honor to play the bully, but it was hard,” said Agmon, of Coral Springs. “I had to get into a guy’s shoes who made me upset. It’s important to understand that you’re not a terrorist based on your religion or race.”
The event had a distinct patriotic feel. It opened with four Taravella ROTC cadets honoring the U.S. flag. Another Taravella student sang the national anthem, and six Maplewood Elementary School students led the Pledge of Allegiance.
After a rendition of “God Bless America,” Taravella Principal Shawn Cerra (Kerry’s husband) welcomed those in attendance.
A trailer of the book included Cerra’s writing partner, Hollywood resident Michelle Delisle, who described Cerra’s perseverance through the almost 10-year journey it took to publish her first book.
“I always knew it would be an important book, a meaningful book,” Delisle said.
Other local authors also were part of the event, including Dorian Cirrone, Alex Flinn and Donna Gephart.
“It’s hard work and it’s heartbreaking,” said Kerry O’Malley Cerra, a former social studies teacher at Stoneman Douglas High School. “You have to have thick skin but have lots of tissues.”
After the ceremony, the authors went to the media center to sign copies of their books.
“I watched her learn the craft, and this is the book she had to write,” Cirrone said. “The best books are written from the heart, and this was written from Kerry’s heart.”
Copyright © 2014, Sun Sentinel