Just because she lives less than a mile from me or because I have issues about going to the post office at holiday time or because she has three of the most adorable and precocious little girls ever doesn’t mean that I would do something like that. I used the random number generator and Alexis‘ number just came up. Promise.
Thank you to everyone who wrote about their favorite childhood books. I was reminded of times I hadn’t thought of in decades and sweet memories of reading with my mother and I got some great ideas of books for my boys. It was suggested to me that I compile a list of the books that people wrote about (there were quite a few that came up over and over) and I plan to do just that—after the holiday madness subsides.
Hanukkah starts this coming Friday night and Niall and I took a break from the preparations this past weekend for dinner out in New York City with friends. It was snowing and The City was lit up for the holidays. We took the train in and watched the snow fall out the windows.
Not bad for date night.
Do you remember reading Black Beauty as a child? I do. I read it in a weekend and it was among the first times that I realized how transforming a good book could be (I recall having similar reactions to a biography of Amelia Earhart and Stuart Little). So when my dear friend Sharon told me that she had written a ‘children’s version’ of Black Beauty I could only ask ‘why?’ (I tried to be polite about it.) Sharon explained graciously that the basis for the story (good vs. evil) was classic and that there was no version suitable for younger children (the publisher suggests ages four through eight but I read it to Quinn, who is two, and Jake, who is eleven, and both were completely engaged). Sharon teamed up with Caldecott Award winning illustrator, Susan Jeffers, and the result is nothing short of spectacular.
Aside: I was not given a copy of this book and you might notice that there is no advertising on this blog, so I have nothing to disclose regarding endorsements—I just really want to spread the love.
So, in honor of my two hundred and eleventh post (why not?) I’m giving away a signed copy of this beautiful book.
Leave me a comment here to be entered for a chance to win (not necessary but appreciated would be memories of your own favorite childhood books) and link to me from your blog to be entered for a second chance. I’ll choose a winner on Monday and will be happy to ship worldwide. Good luck!
For any of you who listen to NPR’s Morning Edition you have probably heard some of the moving stories recorded as part of the StoryCorps project. Last week I had the pleasure of attending a lunch where Dave Isay, StoryCorps Founder, was the guest speaker. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the project, I recommend you check it out. The idea is pretty simple and comes from of the time-honored tradition of oral storytelling. Their website says that their “mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening”.
During the presentation Mr. Isay played recordings of a few of the thousands of interviews recorded since The Project’s inception. We heard a ten year old girl interview her lesbian mother and ask questions about love. He played the interview of a husband and wife and listened to the story of their first date fifty years earlier. We listened to a young woman interview her Mexican-immigrant mother and reminisce about what it was like as a child in pajamas going with her mother to the night job she had cleaning office buildings. She thanked her mother for the inspiration and example she provided by attending college while working full-time and raising two jobs. And we heard a woman recount the last half-hour of her husband’s life which was spent on the phone with her from an upper floor of the World Trade Center. Two weeks ago, that woman died in the plane crash near Buffalo.
The simplicity of the concept is striking: listen and honor. Mr. Isay spoke of listening as a way to learn from those around us. “It celebrates our shared humanity. It tells people that their lives matter and they won’t be forgotten. Through StoryCorps, we hope to create a kinder, more thoughtful and compassionate nation.”
The idea reminds me a little of what us bloggers do by sharing bits and pieces of our lives on our blogs, and how comments by readers can be such a strong affirmation.
The Project has released a book filled with transcripts of hundreds of interviews of regular people. It’s a powerful read and I’ve got a copy up for grabs.
Leave me a comment and I’ll enter your name in the drawing. If you feel like it, tell me about someone who you’d like to interview and why.