the giver

On one of our first visits to our new cabin–the one where my son and I go there by ourselves to rescue it from “lost cause” status in order to prove to my husband that we haven’t made the most irresponsible decision of our shared life by using Liam’s college money to buy a ramshackle […]

twenty by jenny

As a child, I spent summer vacations visiting my father in Florida, far from my mom and friends in New York City. Out of my regular school year routine, I mostly hung out with my dad and his extended family, went to the beach, and made near-daily trips to the library or one of the […]


One Saturday morning I couldn’t easily stand up after the morning cartoons ended. I was four. I announced to my mother that I had appendicitis. She said something along the lines of “Nonsense.” But I did have a fever. So, she took me to the doctor and he sent us to the hospital for an […]


My twin boys learned how to read in kindergarten last year. Max started reading to himself right away. For Emmett, it was a struggle and a battle. All my subtle encouragements to read on his own were rejected. Any pressure, ended up in major resistance and the dreaded whining. I was getting worried until one […]

book a day

Early every morning when I make my way to the computer at the kitchen counter where I work, I go on Twitter pretty much straight away. I have this great practice, which is to look out the window at the morning sky (#Sky) and write what I see in 140 characters or less, the grey […]

honey bee

We picked up a copy of this Pictorial Webster’s Pocket Dictionary before a recent road trip, thinking it would be fun for our kids (one a solid reader, one starting to pick out a few words) to flip through. The pictures are amazing–about 200 super detailed antique engravings that once filled the pages of Webster’s […]


Is your child an avid reader or a reluctant one? Having been a bookworm, I felt very comfortable when my first son seemed to be born with a love of books—it felt like an inherited trait. The next guy, well, he liked construction, then soccer, and then environmentalism and then cooking. His love of reading […]


My hat is off to Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization providing materials, instructions and support for your own front yard self-serve library. LFL’s, as they’re called, are popping up all over my Minneapolis neighborhood and, according to organizers, the concept is spreading rapidly to other cities and towns across the nation. The little birdhouse-like […]

wagon drawing

A friend called me recently and said “I sent you a book! Call me as soon as you’re done reading it!” The next day, a brand new copy of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure appeared in my mailbox. If you have any fondness for the […]


It’s a wonderful feeling to share a favorite book from your own childhood with your kids, and relive the experience of that discovery. (Reliving anything through one’s kids can be dangerous, admittedly, but as long as the focus remains on their interests and desires and not on the parent’s, I think it can be innocent […]


Jansjo, the great clamp spotlight from Ikea is now half-price! I needed a light for the top bunk bed so my son Forrest could read at night. This LED light is a small, compact, practical white light; it doesn’t get hot; it has a flexible neck; and is fun for kids. Best of all, the […]

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