The Case for Fairy Tales Part 2: Villains as Allies

Everybody knows the story of the Three Little Pigs. Or at least they think they do. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Nobody knows the real story, because nobody has ever heard my side of the story.  So narrates A. Wolf in The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. In this […]

“It’s Laudable To Be Audible”: Enhancing the Reading Experience (Or Not)

“Have you ever heard a blindfolded octopus unwrap a cellophane-covered bathtub?” Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth 1. Musical Accompaniment Not long ago I went to a silent-reading event at the Colonial-era Loring-Greenough House in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Apart from the whisper of turning pages (I saw no e-readers), attendees sat and read their books […]

Georgia Children’s Book Award and The Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl

To be in a room with dozens of fourth through eighth graders who are about to compete in a state-wide reading quiz bowl is to experience a level of energy and suspense too high to measure. To witness whole teams of bright-eyed kids on the edge of their seats, buzzers in hand, eager to display […]

How Many Charlies Fit into a World?

In the early days of December, in a fit of indignation , I joined two political groups. This is surprising because although I’m political, I’m also a disillusioned introvert. Basically no system in America is left enough for me, and I wouldn’t attend your rally unless it had fewer than ten people. But I can […]

“Are You Ready for the Country?”: Nashville in All Its Songwriting Glory

Some cities have a unique way of relating to the world around them. They have a hum, a certain lifeblood, a raison d’etre, if you will. Washington, D.C. runs on politics. In Los Angeles, that hum is the entertainment industry, referred to simply as “the industry.” Even ordinary folks know what’s playing at the NuArt, […]

Capturing Stories of the Past… from Those Who Have the Most to Share

Throughout my adolescent years, I was ‘forced’ to make weekly trips to visit my grandparents just like so many other close-knit families of that day. The adults would talk, laugh and bicker, and then we would all eat dinner around the small kitchen table. As I grew older, and more insolent I’ll admit, I became […]

Victorian Smackdown: Five Little Peppers v. Four Little Women, Part 2

Last week, I speculated about possible tension between Louisa May Alcott and Harriett Lothrop (“Margaret Sidney”), who, along with Nathaniel Hawthorne, lived in The Wayside in Concord, Massachusetts during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the week between that first post and this, I was delighted to discover a book by Patricia West, Domesticating […]