A Wish for Something Beyond Yourself


‘Papa, tell us a story.”

It was a typical babysitting session for David Sable, former CEO of the global marketing company Young and Rubicam and a Jewish philanthropist.

Five years ago, His three young grandchildren asked him to read to them at bedtime.

Sable, a Manhattan resident and Jewish Week board member, “a storyteller,” had an idea for one with a moral — he made up a story about the importance of wishes.

His impromptu story is now a book.

“What Would You Wish For?” was published last week. The 32-page book, which contains color illustrations by British artist Emma Yarlett, asks:

“If you had some wishes

that were just for you,

What would you wish for?

What would you do …”

The book, published by Zonderkidz, is aimed at children 4-8, but is appropriate for kids — i.e., adults — of all ages, Sable says.

The point, he says, is to make the book’s readers think — about their priorities, about what is important in life.

“We live in a world where people are bombarded with ugliness, with nastiness,” Sable says. The text, which he converted from prose to poetry at the publisher’s urging, suggests lofty priorities:

“You might wish that nobody

went to bed feeling hungry or thirsty …

maybe you’d wish for peace, love, and joy

for every single girl and boy.”

The words — and the illustrations, which include children of every race — “come from my Jewish being,” said Sable, a rabbi’s son.

The book’s website (allofyourwishes.com) contains a link to an original song written by Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary) in response to the book (allofyourwishes.com/song).

There is no single right answer to the question that Sable’s book poses, says the author, who is donating all of the royalties to UNICEF USA. But he hopes that kids will consider what is important to them, and think in altruistic terms. “By wishing for the right things, we can show children that they have solutions at hand.”