March 28, 2018

How Story Shapes Culture: A Wrinkle in Time

Written by Nadia Daniels-Moehle1

Image credit: Sonja Daniels-Moehle

We are shaped by culture and we shape culture. There are so many great thinkers and creators that have influenced humanity, we come back to their work over and over, and each time we experience it a little differently. Good books are like this, and movies too. Perhaps because of this I’ve always been wary of film adaptations of favorite books, I grow convinced that my interpretation of an author’s work is the work, but that is just not the case.

I remember distinctly the moment when I heard that Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was being made into a movie, I immediately went into "protective book lover mode" a combination of intense hope with an acrid undertone of dread. Then I saw the trailer of Ava DuVernay’s adaptation, I was hopeful to see the racially diverse cast, but could the magical Disney imagery quell my "dark and stormy"2 expectations? Sha Xin Wei director of the Synthesis Center at Arizona State University said,
“When the problems exceed our current scientific solutions, the only way we can have palpable impact is through imagination. Sometimes good science requires magic.”3

On the weekend of March 9-11, 2018 A Wrinkle in Time created necessary magic for our times. Ava DuVernay’s direction took the film to the second highest place at the box office second only to Black Panther, the first time in history that two black directors claimed this prize. Which makes me realize that even if the movie isn’t like the story in my mind, this narrative, the story, is positively shaping our culture. Madeleine’s and Meg’s stories are impacting another generation, thanks especially to Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time. 

A Wrinkle in Time shapes our universes with stories we all need to remember, in the words of Madeleine herself in an interview with PBS from 2000
 "Meg finally realizes that love is stronger than hate. Hate may seem to win for a while, but love is stronger than hate.” 

___________________________________
1. In collaboration with Sonja Daniels-Moehle and Amy Daniels-Moehle
2. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle, first line "It was a dark and stormy night."
3. The New Education, Cathy N. DavidsonSha Xin Wei quote p.p. 147 

November 1, 2017

Discovering Libraries: Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

by The Thinker, Nadia Daniels-Moehle 

"So it goes."
Kurt Vonnegut


Kurt Vonnegut has been a household name throughout my life. When I was pretty small, I was a bit too young to comprehend politics or why this guy Kurt my parents mentioned was so brilliant.

For example this quote was written, in indelible marker, on our wall: "The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon."  I got a little older, politically aware, tall enough to be eye to eye with the quote, and old enough to understood its humor.

For a few years Kurt hovered in the background. Then when I was about 14 I read Slaughterhouse Five, I find my impetus for reading it is somewhat embarrassing: a boy I found cute said it was his favorite book.

So I let Slaughterhouse Five take me on a desolate adventure that turned life's insanity into the only sane thing. I continually come back to Kurt Vonnegut's work because it has the ability to bring his readers to an ironic, truthful, and beautifully brutal portrayal of the world, and of people.

In 2016 I learned about Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library (KVML) when I came across its Kickstarter campaign A Permanent Home for Kurt Vonnegut's Legacy. I was delighted to see an organization not only remembering an author's legacy but also using that legacy to create community and possibilities.

Thanks to KVML I, a then 15-year-old, funded a Kickstarter with my own money for the very first time. The preservation and sharing of knowledge and world views surrounding Kurt Vonnegut's work is utterly important. To evolve into better people, and into a better world, we need accessible knowledge and willing people, KVML has both.

About a month ago I was planning a, long dreamed of, visit to KVML during Banned Books Week. I knew I needed to write a Discovering Libraries post about it. I contacted Julia Whitehead, the founder and CEO, who then put me in touch with Chris Lafave, the Library Curator. I then had an great phone conversation with the friendly and willing Chris during which he said, "Libraries are something else, they are almost like science fiction in a way."  I was excited, really, really excited.

Then Life happened, the kind of Life that makes you shrug and say "so it goes": two days before our visit my little sister found herself in the ER, while in the end she was alright she (and therefore we) couldn't travel. However I was determined, so determined that I chose to write a Discovering Libraries post without having visited the library.

photo credit: Chris Lafave
Chris Lafave, Library Curator 
Thankfully Chris was still willing to answer the Discovering Libraries interview questions as planned. Chris's answers made it possible for me, and now you, to virtually experience KVML. I also learned that his position as Library Curator is one that I dream of having, so watch out Chris someday I just may try to steal your job!

BFWP: Could you share how you came to work at KVML?
Chris Lafave: Certainly. In the beginning of 2011 I was halfway through a masters degree in Library Science from IUPUI when I found out there was about to be a Kurt Vonnegut Library opened right down the street from where I was going to school, so naturally as a huge Vonnegut fan, looking for employment of any kind in the library world, I ran to the spot as soon as I could and I offered any services I could give. I started as a volunteer, I spent about 3 hours that day alone taking stickers off of books that had been donated to our lending library by Half Priced Books*. I attended our grand opening, ran a raffle for fans to win a prize from our gift shop, and continued to work events as my schooling and day job allowed. Towards the end of 2011 our CEO and Founder Julia Whitehead asked me if I'd like to work for the library as the curator, and I excitedly agreed, and took over the position in 2012.
BFWP: Why do you think Kurt Vonnegut's stories and wisdom give people, young and old, both community and escapism?
CL: Well, I believe that Kurt Vonnegut's work touched on difficult subjects, for example we took the name of our 2018 programming from his novel Slapstick, or Lonesome No More. Vonnegut considered loneliness to be a disease, afflicting America because we no longer have large families, thus removing from us a large sense of community. Kurt may have born this feeling because of the somewhat recent dissolution of his marriage to Jane Cox, and partly because of the death of his sister in 1958, which he never really had much time to process until later in his life, when his kids (and her kids, whom he adopted) grew up. Lastly, he does reference the death of his uncle in that novel in the beginning, with Kurt and his brother going back to Indianapolis for the funeral.  It's a sad book, but full of humor. I believe it's Kurt's way of saying "the world is always going to be hard and difficult, here is a way I have dealt with it, through humor and these interesting stories about a guy who runs for President of the United States with the promise of giving everyone random large families, to help with loneliness, which contributes to poverty and the dissolution of marriages."  That kind of escapism I think, gives people hope, it removes them from the idea of feeling alone.

Chris mentioned KVML's 2018 programming and it just so happens that you, yes you, can help fund it! Their Kickstarter Lonesome No More - 2018 Programming at KVML ends November 15, and every donation, every dollar counts.

Why fund this Kickstarter you may ask...well...donating financially gives you a deeper connection to what you believe in whether the arts, social justice, science, or Hoosier literary culture. You become personally invested, and the world needs people to be personally invested, especially right now.

I know this from personal experience, as a teenager I've donated to Kickstarters knowing that I am not only investing in things I believe in but investing in the future. KVML wants to invest in the future of many for it will, "focus on mental health for all of its 2018 events and programming."

So take whatever you have to share and share it with KVML, this programing is so important and you will be investing in many people's futures.

BFWP: Why do you think libraries are an important part of a community?
CL: Endless reasons really, many people cannot afford books, movies, or even internet access, the library provides all of those, plus a feeling of both community and escapism depending on what you are looking for. Plus, nearly every library on earth has programs, ranging from childhood to adult literacy to book clubs, to simply providing meeting space for any kind of organization.
BFWP: Which library did you grow up using?
CL: Carmel Clay Public Library, but I have fond memories of many, Indianapolis has an excellent selection of public libraries, very fond of the College Avenue branch, the Spades Park Library which is a Carnegie Library, the main branch, in Muncie, Indiana where I went to University, Bracken Library with the college is an excellent library, the Lozano Branch of the Chicago Public Library is where I believe I first checked out Cat's Cradle, and thus was responsible in a large way for my love of Vonnegut, which is interesting considering he eventually received his masters degree from the University of Chicago for Cat's Cradle.
BFWP:What can a citizen do to help preserve the library as an institution?
CL: Donate money, or your time to volunteer, advocate for arts/humanities organizations, whenever you hear that funding is a problem, tell your neighbors and family, write your congressperson/governor.
BFWP: What service or feature is available at KVML that might surprise people?
CL: We are trained to register people to vote!

BFWP: If you had a magic wand and could do absolutely anything for the libraries of the world what would it be?

CL: Give us unlimited funding and make sure the entire world knows we're here.
(BFWP: Hint, hint... now would be a great time to fund KVML's Kickstarter.)

BFWP: What is the most interesting item held in the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library's collection?
CL: Oh man, that's a tricky one, there is a letter from World War II, written by his father, that Kurt never opened, and his son Mark never opened it either, it's still sealed from 1944.  There's also a very angry letter to the editor that Kurt (father of 6) wrote to Look Magazine about Little League Baseball ruining family dinner hour.  That about broke my heart, thinking that Kurt might not like Baseball (I'm kidding), we also have a speech where he admits to not liking Bratwurst (that did break my heart).
BFWP: What are some special features of KVML?
CL: I can think of quite a few, this is one of the few libraries in the world where you are downright encouraged to type on a Typewriter, we have a piece of charred paper in our collection from when one of our Banned Books Week guests typed up the entire novel Fahrenheit 451 on two taped together pieces of paper, and then lit it on fire!  It sits next to a great photograph of Kurt and Ray Bradbury, courtesy of Dr. Jonathan Eller, who represents the Ray Bradbury Center, which is at IUPUI, right down the road from here.
BFWP: What is the best part of working at KVML?
CL: Hands down getting to meet diverse and interesting people every day, and having nearly all of them be Vonnegut fans, not to mention fans of the arts in general.  I've met so many other deadheads here.
BFWP: Do you have a favorite place in KVML?
CL: Absolutely, the actual reading space in the library, we have very comfortable chairs, a stereo system, a dimly lit light, a Typewriter, and walls of books.  I'm pretty content there.
BFWP: What are your hopes for the future of KVML?
CL: That it remains a place where arts and humanities fans can congregate for whatever reason they need us for centuries to come.  That it outlives me by an enormous margin.

Seriously Chris thanks for the awesome interview and don't hesitate to give me a call when you are ready to retire! Even though I haven't (yet!) visited KVML I feel as though I have.

The ability words and stories have to connect never cease to amaze me, nor does life, so in the words of Kurt Vonnegut: "So it goes."


photo source: KVML 
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library's Mission: 
The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library champions the legacy of Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut and the principles of free expression, common decency, and peaceful coexistence he advocated. 
Take a moment to check out their diversity statement which opens with this very truthful and poignant Kurt Vonnegut quote:  
“New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. 
The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.”

Take five minutes and share what you can with KVML's Kickstarter
The clock is ticking so don't hesitate!

August 18, 2017

The Culture of Science: Get Out, Look Up --Eclipse 2017


A note from The Big Sister to help introduce our new feature The Culture of Science:
 
In a culture full of technology and distractions the simple act of looking up is becoming a lost art. Yet tilting your head back to peer at something immense and mysterious, whether a person or the sky, should feel natural: that's what we all did for the first 10 years of our lives. Once the world was a marvel, now we just strive to find answers. 
Recently while stargazing, and waiting for the Persieds to blip across the sky, I felt expansive and fascinated in a way I hadn't for a long time. I realized that just as there is a vastness full of curiosity above us, there is the same vastness and curiosity inside us, sometimes we just forget it's there. 
The solar eclipse is giving us an opportunity to look up and experience a very special (and magical, as I would have said when I was little) part of the universe, and ourselves. This is a time to let our curiosity out and let the wonder in!

Where will you be on August 21, 2017? Wherever you are (if you happen to be on the North American Continent) you are gonna want to look up. We've gathered references, resources, information, and inspiration from some of our go-to science favorites like Scientific American Magazine, Bill Nye and The Planetary SocietyU.S. National Park Service, the original Bad Astronomer Phil Plait of PBS Crash Course Astronomy & SyFy Wire, and of course, our book shelves


Take a minute or 30, spend some time with Books for Walls Project, enjoy the our new feature: 
The Culture of Science and Get Out and Look Up!


Eclipse 2017: All the way across North America!
(Image credit: Planetary Society)
How to know where to go and what time? 
"If you can, plan your primary destination to be the closest place within your range of travel with the best climatological conditions. Then, watch the short-term weather forecast starting a week before and adjust your target destination if necessary.
And maybe hope for a little luck: As the moon begins to partially cover the sun, a phenomenon called “eclipse cooling” begins: The lowering of air temperature may dissipate a thin cloud layer and save the day."
Read more tips for viewing from Scientific American, click here.

How to I get my kids to look up and understand how special this is?
Don't worry, you have help. The Planetary Society and the U.S. National Park Service have partnered up for the very first time to pool their resources and inspiration to help us all get out and look up. 
Ever want to be a Park Ranger... well here is your chance to become a National Park Service Junior Ranger. Get the Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer Book, full of fun and engaging activities, geared toward the curious and youthful of all ages. 
To download Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer Book
click here!
 

WATCH:
a short video about the eclipse with Bill Nye, Planetary Society CEO and of course, the Science Guy and a ranger from the National Park Service:


LEARN: Phil Plait breaks down what an eclipse is. If you like this video consider  watching PBS Crash Course Astronomy entire series, we did and whew, the course and Phil Plait are simply brilliant --we dare you to watch just one and try not to get hooked.



Now you know what the eclipse is and where to look, but how to look? 
Shop carefully for glasses: Trust the America Astronomical Society, "your eyes are precious! You don't need astronomers to tell you that, but you do need astronomers to tell you where to get safe solar filters:" click here for the list from AAS.
Oh, no, I cannot find glasses! What to do? No worries, Science has a solution: 
"Here's a simple and safe way to observe a partial eclipse that's appropriate for young children with no eclipse glasses or other special equipment needed." Emily Lakdawalla of The Planetary Society explains, "throughout the exercise, kids safely face away from the Sun."
Click here to DIY your own Pinhole Projector or watch the video!




______And this happened, all you science geeks can understand how cool it is:
We're learning about how to use (read: not get distracted by) Twitter. 
@booksforwalls tweeted and yup, @exploreplanets retweeted, that was cool.

It's not to late to get Planetary Society Eclipse 2017
swag, check out the Chop Shop Store. We are just about ready,
but we have a lot of reading to do...

How about some recommendations from the shelves of Books for Walls:

George's Secret Key to the Universe by Stephen and Lucy Hawking (Stephen's Daughter!) Get it at the library. 
The Stars: A New Way to See Them by H.A. Rey (this book has been on The Sister's shelf since they were very small and there is a new up-to-date edition!)
Get a Grip on Astronomy by Robin Kerrod (The illustrations call you to pick up and explore astronomy.) Get it at the library.

Still want more?  
Learn more about The Sister's experience with the National Park Service Junior Ranger Program.
Explore www.booksforwallsproject.org, where everyday is a good day to read a book. Join us.

April 11, 2017

Take Action for Libraries Day


"A library is a place that is a repository of information 

and gives every citizen equal access to it." Neil Gaiman

It's National Library Week and the American Library Association is launching Take Action for Libraries Day.

"Take Action for Libraries Day is a national library advocacy effort observed for the first time on the Thursday of National Library Week, April 13. 
In response to President’s Trump proposed budget cuts, this year’s Take Action for Libraries Day will highlight the library community’s efforts to safeguard funding for the Institute for Museum and Library Services , which serves as a critical funding resource for every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories to support libraries and museums."

Find resources and learn more click here:  Fight for Libraries! information provided by ALA
We're celebrating by heading to the library!
   
Illustration: Chris Riddell
Quote source: Angela Clarke


For more information on National Library Week, visit I Love Libraries or follow #NationalLibraryWeek.

April 4, 2017

The Big Sister's First Book (and Happy Anniversary to BFWP!)

Their Sister Love began just
over  7 years 13 years ago. 
(Photos subject to copyright)
Sparked by this week's* Get in Touch with Your Inner Dummy Challenge and thanks to her wonderful relationship with The Little SisterThe Big Sister began writing her own "Dummies Book."

Unprompted, she wrote the following list in her journal and decided to share it with the BFWP readers in honor of our one year anniversary. 

The Books for Walls Project is about more than just reading, it is about relationship building and learning more about the wonderful people inhabiting this lovely planet. 

Without further ado we give you...

Big Sistering for Dummies
This list is to help you and your younger 
siblings get along and be friends

#1 Remember you are worshiped by a younger person.

#2 The smaller (younger) person wants to be the same as you because they like you so much.

#3 Remember even though they can be frustrating, they still love you.

#4 If you do not want them to be in your space or room do not have a keep out sign. That makes them more curious. Let them come in and look, but you can have privacy and thing off limits.

#5 Try to be kind to them, remember you were their age once. If they ask you to play and you do not want to you can simply say, "no, but I would like to some other time!"

#6 Try to love them. Look at them and try to recognize that they are human beings with feelings.

#7 You need time for yourself, do something relaxing, by yourself.

#8 Find something you and your sibling have in common and like to do together because you are going to be with them a long time.

#9 If you are frustrated walk out of the room/get away or ask for help. Adults are really important at times like these. You are not responsible for your younger sibling, your parents are and it is okay to ask them for help!

#10 The reason it's worth it to work on your relationship with your sibling is because when you are sick or down they are always there for you and you'll always have a friend to hang out with. The rewards are worth all the work!
And thankfully their Sister Love keeps growing and 
growing! The Little Sister's great idea for 
a photo hiding their faces...Hugging! 
(Photos subject to copyright)

Thank you Big Sister for writing this wonderful list --we cannot wait for the whole book. 

Thank you, Dear Readers, for sharing your time and your thoughts with us and of course for taking Challenges --oh, we LOVE when you take Challenges and leave comments.



Thank you to our Wonderful Regular Contributors, both old and new. Your participation keeps us smiling and ever inspired. 

Thank you to the Writers of the World who keep us ever-content and supplied with good books to read. 

Thank you Librarians of the World for all of the work you do.

Thank you to The Sisters who are a great inspiration to their parents and, thanks to them, we began this wonderful project!

Without all of you we wouldn't be celebrating our One Year  Six Year Anniversary 
and so one thousand thanks and
Happy Anniversary!

Over the next couple of weeks we'll be cleaning up the site 
and making it a little simpler to navigate the challenges 
--we want it to be fun and easy to take 
part in the Books for Walls Project. 

Hope to see you again soon!

*This was originally published on our first anniversary in April of 2011.

November 24, 2016

The Art of Listening

“Asking questions and listening intently to the stories that emerge is one of the most powerful forces in the world. If we all take one hour this year to do it, we’ll strengthen our national fabric at a time when it desperately needs it.” Dave Isay, StoryCorps founder and president 
A whole lot of listening goes on around here. We listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and music is often streaming from speakers or earbuds somewhere in the house. Most of all though, we listen to each other. Like most things in life listening takes work and there is always, always, more to learn. In the past several years we’ve been researching, studying new techniques, and we have begun to really honor the art of listening.

An important part of the art is one that seemed surprising: Quiet. “We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally.” Such a simple idea, but one that holds so much wisdom, as Susan Cain explains in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Quiet was recommended by a dear friend, singer-songwriter May Erlewine. In person May seems to be well, quiet, but when she steps on stage her artful, engaging, energy effects everyone with the depth of her voice and poetry of her craft. May suggested the book because The Big Sister wondered how to be quiet and still be part of conversation. In a world that felt like we have to be loud to be heard, can we really be still and listen? We’re discovering that the answer is resoundingly, yes.

Why are we thinking about Listening?

In the United States on the fourth Thursday in November people gather: some to celebrate Thanksgiving, some to mourn*, and many struggle to communicate with those they love deeply but wonder: how did we get here, how can I get to know each other better, where do we begin? We’re guessing that people in each category might find some inspiration and hope in two tools that both focus on listening:

#TheGreatListen 
The Books for Walls Project first became involved with the StoryCorp National Day of Listening oral history project in 2011 with the Listening Challenge, we were even official state partners of the project. Our interview plans were thwarted by lack of proper recording equipment that is no longer a problem for anyone with a smart phone thanks to the StoryCorps app. Now anyone, anytime, anywhere can participate and become part of this incredible compendium of relationship oral history. Start now, click here: https://storycorps.me
 


Lets Talk, an interactive to bridge the gap
In 2016 the U.S. experienced a divisive, ugly, and unsettling election. The process of understanding, grieving, working to fix, and healing the division is just beginning. Thankfully, The New York Times created a resource to help heal the wounds and wouldn’t you know, it’s all about listening. With 19 interview questions, a few ground rules, just about anyone can be on the road to reconciliation. Click to learn more and even listen to a couple of the interviews: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/18/podcasts/how-could-you-19-questions-to-ask-loved-ones-who-voted-the-other-way.html?_r=0

Now get out there and listen.



_____________________________________________________
Listening Tools, Resources, References, Information, and Insights:
Another part of listening is empathy. Learn more with Brene Brown’s Empathy Primer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw
Are you an Educator? Bring the Great Listen to your students, get the toolkit: https://storycorps.me/about/the-great-thanksgiving-listen/
The Dad found a resource to help us understand the difference between judgement and being judgmental, definitely a doorway to better listening: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-knowledge/201305/making-judgments-and-being-judgmental
More about May Erlewine: http://mayerlewine.com
How to Be a Better Listener, Scientific American https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-be-a-better-listener/
Thanksgiving and the Myth of Native American “Savages”, from Scientific American https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/thanksgiving-and-the-myth-of-native-american-savages/
*Why Thanksgiving Is A ‘National Day Of Mourning’ For Some Americans, Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/native-americans-national-day-of-mourning_us_5650c46ee4b0258edb31c3ca
Learn about the American Thanksgiving from “why turkey?” to “why Thursday”: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/thanksgiving-day-whats-the-history-of-the-holiday-and-why-does-the-us-celebrate-pilgrim-fathers/

August 8, 2016

A Reluctant Reader Can Become a Ravenous Reader with an Adventure at the Library


"If you're gonna do one thing for your kids, 
teach them to read.

Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan was 12 or 13, James Patterson was 19, Diane Rehm was 21, and The Dad was 28, at these "late ages" each finally found their way to book love. 

Sadly, these wonderful people would have been considered reluctant readers in elementary school. Fortunately all went on to become ravenous readers. 

What made it happen? Was it worth the wait? How do we help the reluctant readers in our lives fall in love with reading? 

"For many years we had 6 to 7 o'clock, that was our reading time," Rick Riordan explains. "I don't care what you're reading, but you're reading. I'm reading too, because if the parents say they're too busy to read, well, of course the kids are going to feel the same way." 

According to Rick if you want a child in your life to read it's all about what you do, not what you say.  
We agree, The Four of Us read whenever we have a moment and make certain there are tons of books to choose from because, as James Patterson explains, one of the keys to getting kids to read is "freedom of choice." 

The Big Sister believes that any child would like to read, "they just have to find the right book, it may be a comic book, but that is a start!" The Little Sister adds, "Calvin and Hobbes is great book to read!"

Go on an adventure with your reluctant reader: together visit the library. Make sure you have time to wander and discover. And make sure you take turns, let your child watch you try to find a good book. And don't be afraid to ask for help, find a librarian, ask them how to go on a library treasure hunt. Then schedule your library adventures regularly, mark them on the calendar and plan accordingly.

Whatever you do the first step is simple: grab a book and start reading!

(Originally published 2011)

April 21, 2016

Put a Poem in Your Pocket Challenge


"Poetry is a record of the life around us and in us, and you'll get a better idea from poetry what it was like to be alive in 2011 than you will from the New York Times." Garrison Keillor

The Big Sister recently learned that she loves to write poetry. With this came a new understanding of poetry and how truly wonderful poetry is. 

April 21, 2016 is national Poem In Your Pocket Day, the idea is simple: select a poem you love then carry it with you to share throughout the day. Want other ways to participate? Click here for a treasure trove, brought to you by the Academy of American Poets. (In 2016 The League of Canadian Poets have extended Poem in Your Pocket Day to Canada!)


The Put a Poem in Your Pocket Challenge is to find a poem and share it with BFWP (post it in the comments.) Then if you choose, print it, carry it in your pocket, and share it with people in honor of Poem in Your Pocket Day!

  • Visit www.poets.org. There you will find a treasure trove of information.
  • To randomly search for a poem by topic, author or first line click here for poets.org amazing search engine. On that page we found this quote: "For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences." Rainer Maria Rilke 
  • Visit this very cool interactive map to search for local poets in the USA, click here to learn more.

Now it is your turn, find a poem and share it! The Big Sister adds, "it is okay to share your own poetry!" 

Read the comments --you might like some of the poems that have been shared. Please use the following format for your comment: Title of Poem, Author, and your thoughts on the poem.

**This post was originally posted April 14, 2011 --we've updated the content and links!

March 30, 2016

Get in Touch with Your Inner Dummy Challenge

A few weeks ago The Little Sister was peering at the bookshelves with a curious look on her face, "Mom, what are all those books? Those yellow and black ones?" 

The Mom responded without thinking, "those are Dummies books." 

I wish we had a photo of her face at that moment: a mix of giggles and wisdom trying to work out in her head how there could be dummy books

The Mom went on to explain, ""Dummies Books" are written by people who are experts in their field to help other people understand the subject."

We own several Dummies Books. We frequents library book sales and always looks for the yellow and black covers: Sewing for Dummies, Yoga for Dummies, Nonprofit Kit for Dummies, Houseplants for Dummies

There is something comforting about referring to a Dummies Book for help. Mortgages for Dummies helped us navigate buying our first house. Houseplants for Dummies helped The Mom stop killing plants. Yoga for Dummies, got The Mom over her fear of yoga, there was something about relaxing in a room full of people just didn't work in her head.

Rminiscing about our Dummies Books got The Sisters and The Mom into full BFWP brainstorming mode, there seemed to be a challenge here. The Big Sister got it, "we can invite readers to tell us what THEY are experts on, what Dummies book THEY could write!

The Mom asked The Sisters what Dummies Book they could author, wondered about what subject they were experts on, and without hesitation they answered (read the comments to find out). 

Now it is your turn.  

Here is your ChallengeWe all have some special thing, a talent, a secret hobby, a career, a sport, a trick, something we are experts on. 

Don't worry you do not have to actually write the book, just tell us in the comment below what Dummies book Y-O-U could write!
We searched www.worldcat.org for Dummies
Books and the search came up with 19,000 titles,
click here to check out the search
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*Updated, originally published March 2011.