This week’s post was originally inspired way back in July when I was in Poland with my family. We were visiting the Wawel Castle in Krakow, an incredible medieval castle that has withstood centuries of war and occupation (albeit with a few fires and restorations). It is now a national museum. I’d like to use an anecdote from this trip to illustrate the way stories can be retold in a way that is more gender-fair.
Today, my niece and nephew (primary inspirations for the blog) turn 6! They recently started kindergarten. This post is a tribute to both of those milestones. For their birthday, I gave them a series of books that I learned to read on: Russell Hoban’s Frances series. The Frances books are about a sassy badger and her attempts to navigate childhood’s great challenges.
One of the aspects of NPR listenership that many stations tend to target in the semi-annual pledge drives is the concept of “driveway moments”: sitting in your car after you’ve arrived home in order to hear the end of a story before going into your home. The idea is that if you experience these moments a lot (I do), you must value their service and enjoy their stories, and you should support them with a donation (don’t worry, I also do that too). I had one such driveway moment last week during an interview with Brad Meltzer on the program Here & Now about his children’s book series, Ordinary People Change the World.
On Wednesdays, we get together with some grad student friends for happy hour (the early bird special might be a more accurate description). We are all in psychology but from a mix of sub-disciplines, years, and life experiences. Lest I get sappy here, suffice it to say, Wednesdays are a blend of friendship and mentoring among some pretty darn educated, wonderful women. We talk about gender a lot — because it’s a personal interest of all of ours, because it’s my research area, and because we are women in science. Last week we moved our discussion to the movie theater. I used my most endearing/forceful tactics to get us to see Divergent.
This week we are revisiting some Caldecott Medal-winning favorites. Early in the week we featured Owl Moon. Today we take a look at Mirette on the High Wire, a long-time Fair Play favorite.
I recently asked my mother to select some of our family’s favorite picture books. Raising four children of their own and now two grandchildren, my parents’ collection has become well-honed over time. Every book that remains seems to have a distinct purpose – a lesson to learn, gender fair and anti-racist representation, or beautiful illustrations and rhythmic text. Needless to say, competition for this short list of favorites was hot. Today we’ll talk about one of the winners (and Caldecott award winner), Emily Arnold McCully’s Mirette on the High Wire.
We haven’t featured many books on Fair Play and frankly, that’s an oversight. We love to read, a passion kindled by Fair Play Supermom and dad and their dedication to providing a constant stream of new reading material. We’re going to make a concerted effort to feature more books on Fair Play, beginning today with the Caldecott Medal-winning Owl Moon, by Janet Yolen. Later this week we will revisit another favorite Caldecott Medal Winner, Mirette on the High Wire.
Last in our themed Gift Guides, today we’re rounding up our favorite gender-fair books and music. Check out our other themed Gift Guides — STEM toys and games. All of these posts include links to lengthier articles we’ve written previously about a topic, so if you need more information or ideas, check those out as well (linked throughout).
One of the best ways to set the tone for the season or an upcoming holiday is with seasonal books. I’m a big supporter of evening family reading, and holiday books are great for this because they get everyone in a common spirit of the season and emphasize the kind of family time the holidays are all about (or should be!). Our family room coffee table becomes a display for holiday books arranged in a fan, easily accessible for a quick read when the mood strikes. The content varies according to the season, beginning with Halloween and ending with Christmas…or whenever Christmas gets put away, which is often some time in March.