Book of the week: Nov. 13, 2020

‘Fly a Little Higher,’ the heartbreaking story of Zach Sobiech, soars

Jessica Simms, Managing Editor

When faced with something as terrifying as terminal cancer, it is easy to feel as if it would be best to just give up. However, that was not the way Zach Sobiech coped with his illness.

In the book, “Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way,” Laura Sobiech, Zach Sobiech’s mother, tells the story of how he took the scariness of battling terminal osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, and created something beautiful out of it.

Jessica Simms

After finding out Zach Sobiech was terminally ill, Laura Sobiech asked him to write farewell letters to his friends and family. However, as a musician, Zach Sobiech decided to write songs, one of which is his hit single, “Clouds.”

A Twin Cities-based radio station heard about Zach Sobiech and decided to partner with him so he could professionally record “Clouds.” Soon after, radio stations played the song regularly, and millions viewed the “Clouds” music video on YouTube. Zach Sobiech’s song became the No. 1 downloaded song on iTunes two days after he died on May 22, 2013.

This book does tell Zach Sobiech’s story of battling terminal cancer, but his story also shows readers the importance of living each day as if it is their last. Zach Sobiech took a horrible situation and created something full of joy and love out of it.

Even though this book was published in 2014, I can attest that its message is relevant today. We are living through a scary time, but something I learned from reading Zach Sobiech’s story is that he ensured he made the most of each day. He coped with his cancer by doing what he loved — making music and spending time with family and friends.

Not all of us can write a song, record it and make it a hit single, but take the time to connect, virtually, with your loved ones. Hop on Zoom and play games with your friends, put together puzzles with your family members — if you are already back home — and do something you love. If you’re like Zach Sobiech, write some songs. If you are not, do something that you enjoy.

Zach Sobiech took a horrible situation and created something full of joy and love out of it.”

— Jessica Simms

Even better, you can grab a copy of Laura Sobiech’s book, “Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way.” The story Laura Sobiech tells is inspirational, but by no means easy to read. Learning how a child battled cancer from a mother’s perspective is extremely sad, but it is amazing to understand how Zach Sobiech approached life.

If reading is not something you enjoy and you own Disney+, watch “Clouds.” This film is based on Zach Sobiech’s story, and it tells it beautifully. Grab a box of tissues, though. You will need it.

Whatever you do, listen to Zach Sobiech’s song “Clouds.” His song makes you want to “fly a little higher” into the clouds and make the most of each day.