Book recalls "Angel of Tucson"
A photo of shooting victim Christina-Taylor Green lies amidst notes left at a makeshift memorial at the University Medical Center on January 17, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The nine-year-old student was one of six people killed in the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. / John Moore/Getty Images
PHOENIX Christina-Taylor Green's mother made sure her daughter had a hoodie to keep her warm and was buckled into the car that would take her to grocery store where she going to meet Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The plan was for the 9-year-old budding student of politics to ask the congresswoman about global warming and then go get her toes done and eat lunch with the neighbor who arranged the outing. Green's mother, who had to pick up Christina-Taylor's brother at karate, told her daughter that she loved her, and her daughter did the same.
The girl was among those killed Jan. 8 in the shooting rampage in Tucson, which also left Giffords badly injured.
Roxanna Green's goodbye to her daughter is among many heartbreaking moments in the mother's book, "As Good As She Imagined," about Christina-Taylor's spirited life, the shock of her death and her family's struggle without her.
"As Good As She Imagined: The Redeeming Story of the Angel of Tucson" by Roxanna Green and Jerry B. Jenkins (Worthy Publishing)
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Roxanna Green said writing the book was challenging.
"I had some very dark and difficult moments, and you know, I would just pray and take a break and remember what the goal was to honor my daughter and make sure her legacy endures forever, and that she was an exceptional human being," Green said. "In her nine years, she did more here than most do in a lifetime."
Although many details of Christina-Taylor's life are well known through news stories, the book offers more detailed descriptions of the girl through the eyes of a mother, who offers a touching, definitive account of her daughter's life.
The mother describes a girl who was occasionally obstinate but always happy, never had to be told to do her homework and had a refreshing childhood naivetDe that let her think anything was possible, such as wanting to invite President Barack Obama and his family to join her family at a baseball game.
The book also offers a nightmarish, powerful account of the mother's drive to the hospital after the shooting without knowing why she was being called there, the crush of media attention that followed and the pain that the death will continue to bring.
It recounts her difficult delivery into the world on the day of the 9-11 terror attacks, her curiosity and wit, an unusually early interest in government, talents as a baseball player and ambition to study at Penn State and become a veterinarian, a senator or a singer. It's also the story of a family, chronicling the courtship of Christina-Taylor's parents, the birth of her older brother and the challenges of his autism, and the five-stop family vacation on the happy summer before her death.
Green, her neighbor Susan Hileman and Giffords were among the 19 people shot in the Jan. 8 attack. The congresswoman, Hileman and 11 others survived the attack, while Green, a federal judge, a Giffords staffer and three others died.
The book, co-written by Jerry B. Jenkins, is set for release Tuesday. Publicists for the Green family and the book's publisher, Worthy Publishing, provided advanced copies of the book to the AP.
It draws its title from the speech that Obama made in Tucson days after the shooting in which he urged the country to embrace the 9-year-old's idealistic vision of democracy.
In the book, Roxanna Green paints a portrait of her daughter as precocious and driven through countless everyday moments.
For instance, Christina-Taylor loved to learn about baseball strategy, a quality that her father, Los Angeles Dodgers scout John Green, looks for in his prospects. At another point, her father helped her craft her campaign pitch for a student council post that she ended up winning. She wanted way more brochures than were needed to make her case. Her parents had to remind her that she wasn't running a national campaign.
The book describes how the family leans on each other in dealing with her death and the injustice of it.
Green's mother said in an interview that she avoids thinking about the shooting.
"I try not to go there," she said. "If I go there, then it's going to be a waste of energy and painful. I'll be sidelined. I can't go there, but sometimes I do. It's human nature. You just try not to. I won't be able to be a good mother, a good wife or very productive."
The family draws strength from her memory.
One such moment that's chronicled in the book came as her parents stood near her casket during a viewing of her body. Another mother told Green's parents that when her son was new to his school, he sat alone on the bus for a few weeks and was unhappy.
The Greens' daughter sat with him for two weeks and talked to him on the way to school and made him feel better. The mother thanked the Greens for her daughter's kindness.
Christina-Taylor never relayed the story to her parents.
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