Day one – CMK15: Learning

This year’s Constructing Modern Knowledge is big. There is so much energy and enthusiasm, and there are some growing pains as well. The use of space is transformative. I was not here last year, and as I understand it this was a move they made last year. Being able to use this huge area to…

Spring, Passover, Easter, and girl bunnies

This has been a hard winter. The coldest February on record for Chicago, late snow, and the usual stresses of growing up and growing older.  My twins will be off to college next fall. They have wonderful choices but not maybe the choices that they anticipated.  It will all be good. And today I planted…

The Vingananee and the Tree Toad

This fabulous story came into our home via my mother.  It was ex libris – a discard from the Brookings Public Library, and it had already been rebound and was an ugly book. But what a beautiful story. This Liberian folk tale, retold by Verna Aardema and illustrated by Ellen Weiss tells the tale of…

The Wheel of the Year turns

Welcome, February 1! Today is the day that we reach the point halfway between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.  Imbolc, or St. Brigid’s Day is the beginning of the Celtic spring and the time when we can sense that the days are getting longer.  So although we have at least three feet of…

Sixteen Candles

I wrote this last year. I’m not sure why I didn’t post it. The ladies have passed drivers education, now, and are juniors in high school. Seventeen years ago today I was told that the baby I was going to have was two babies.   I am going to try to tell this story. Parts…

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

I have written about waiting to leave for school in the morning as a kid.  Captain Kangaroo was integral to the experience for many reasons, but specifically the clock at the bottom of the screen let us know when it was time to leave.  I thank Captain Kangaroo for introducing me to Mike Mulligan and His…

Mr. Dog: the Dog Who Belonged To Himself

This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember’d; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; From Shakespeare’s Henry V, 1598: There are lots of dog books — The Poky…

Voyage to the Bunny Planet

“Far beyond the moon and stars, Twenty light- years south of Mars, Spins the Gentle Bunny Planet. And the Bunny Queen is Janet.” Three books that help us know that our imagination, hope, and love can transform even the worst day. When we first found these stories, they were three small books (First Tomato, Moss…

Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler

I love this book.  I remember it from when I was a child.  We didn’t own a copy of this book, but I first experienced it on mornings before school in the mid-60s when Captain Kangaroo read it to us all via his childrens’ television program.  I remember the pages would shake when the peddler…

Mama, Do You Love Me?

When Emily was about two, someone gave me a terrible book by Robert Munsch titled Love You Forever.  It is a dreadful story of a co-dependent creepy relationship between a mother and son. I read it once and literally threw it away.  In the kitchen garbage.  I was horrified by the message of the book…

Wake Up, Wilson Street

One of the quietest, loveliest books that we read to the girls is out of print – Wake Up, Wilson Street by Abigail Thomas with illustrations (really paintings) by William Low. A grandmother and her grandchild sit and look out the window in the early morning and watch Wilson Street awaken. The sun comes up,…

Many Moons – Once upon a time…

When the girls were little, I never missed an opportunity to read James Thurber’s Many Moons to them.  It is the story of the Princess Lenore who “fell ill of a surfeit of raspberry tarts” (something we wish we could all relate to in the dead of winter) and takes to her bed. The king,…