Friday, November 27, 2015

December Book Events

Here are some upcoming bookish events in the Boston area! Check them out while you are picking up all those bookish Christmas presents.

Porter Square Books

December 9, 7 pm
Sy Montogomery and Keith Ellenbogen talk about Octopus, their in depth look at the real life of an octopus.  Not a kids book, per se, but probably a kid you know would love this!

Brookline Booksmith

December 6, 2 pm
Carson Ellis, illustrator of many books, including her phenomenal new Home, a must see!

Harvard Bookstore

Not a book event but their warehouse sale is December 5th and 6th!  Go get books!

Boston Public Library

December 1, 6 pm
Sister Souljah presents her YA book, A Moment of Silence, at the Central library

Somerville Public Library

December 6, 3 pm
DJ/Author Jef Czekaj will drop some beats, taking requests, and perhaps read some books.  He's definitely a local favorite!

December 13, 2 pm
Alice in Wonderland read-a-thon and Tea Party!  This is the year of Alice!

An Unlikely Story

December 4, 4 pm
Carson Ellis!  A little farther from Boston but a superb venue!

You won't see...Jeff Kinney.  He sold over 900 tickets to 4 different appearances here within an hour. It's a good time to write children's books!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

On Empathy

My thoughts are still swirling from this weekend's tragic events across our world.  In more than one place citizens of the world have faced acts of terror. Unfair. As has happened before in situations such as these, my mind and soul can't seem to land on a feeling. Instead, I read posts and articles. I listen to opinions and reflect on my feelings towards those.

This weekend I was supposed to attend a Ted Talk session, including Linda Sue Park as one speaker, here in Boston. We are currently reading Linda Sue Park's A Long Walk to Water in class. The book tells the story of one of the thousands of "Lost Boys" of Sudan, who fled the second civil war in Sudan in 1985. Her talk was about the power of children's books to change lives.

At the last minute, I decided not to go. I knew I could watch a live streaming of her talk later and I just did that. In her talk, which you can view here (she starts at 4:01) she describes how children's books offer a place and space to feel empathy for others.  To see that life isn't fair, but it might be worse for others than it is for you.  Once you have empathy, you are empowered to take action and become engaged in making change.

We live in a world where we are quick to point fingers and lay blame. I think, in part, because we long for fast answers. The internet offers the promise of immediacy. The news of the attacks in Paris reached my cell phone instantly. Articles were posted within 20 minutes of me learning about the attacks. Friends shared images, articles. Quick to follow the feeling of shock and need for comfort, was the finger pointing. This group was using the attacks to blame this other group for problems completely unrelated to the attacks. Blame was shared for not knowing about all the other violence, or perhaps for not acknowledging the other violence, in our world. What about refugees? What about Beirut? What about Kenya?  Why aren't you saying everything there is to say instead of just one thing? My social media venues became a place of separation, not coming together.

In all of this, I was reminded of something I overheard at a book reading I attended a few weeks ago. The author was promoting democratic discussions in classrooms.

From Several Short Sentences About Writing.
Perhaps advice not just in revising our writing,
but also revising our lives. 
Obviously, this is something I support. An audience member spoke up, "Talking is great, but when do we offer the time to think?" (Side note, I found out later she was the one and only Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot and man, do I want to sit and have a cup of tea with her to discuss the world.)

I often console angry, frustrated children by reminding them that they cannot control the actions of others. They can control their own actions and reactions. To do this, I ask them to stop and think. Think for a long time. When we take time to think, we provide ourselves with a space to start to feel empathy. I assure you, I have no answers for the violence that dominoed through our world this weekend. But before you share, comment, "like", or react, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to think first.  

Friday, November 13, 2015


Folks.  My life is a dream come true.  Not only is Janet touring (tickets sold out waaay before I could get to them) but Missy just released her new music video.

This calls for... DANCE FRIDAY!!

Also, there was a double rainbow at dismissal today.  Yes, world, things are looking mighty fine.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

All the Lit That's Fit to Knit!

Hey there readers!  It has been an exhausting two months of school as I have tried to get a handle on a school year that brings with it twice as much paperwork as usual.  This is the excuse I am going with for why I haven't written in awhile.  I've also been knitting up a storm.  My cousin and her husband are expecting a little one in December.  My cousin's husband is a big fan of Star Wars and the new Star Wars film happens to open in theaters around the same time.  It only seemed appropriate that I knit thematic items for the newest Howe family member.

Yoda Bottle Coozie

Baby Yoda Hat

Remember when I subtly mentioned that there was a person in my life who came home and met the family?  Well, 6 months later we are still going strong.  He sealed the deal when, as I was getting ready to knit my knits, he said, "Maybe I'll learn to knit as well!"  And let me tell you, he is killing it. Below is a picture of his starter knitting kit.  I picked some manly colors and I think it goes well with his manly candle, manly electric guitar, records, and... yeah.  

A Manly Knit Kit

Want some literary knits? Well, I got those for you too!  This link sends you to some knitting patterns for literary mittens!  Just in time for cold weather!

Also, these are some of my favorite picture books that feature knitting.  Click on the picture to go to Porter Square Book's website and you can learn all about them...and then buy them!