This may be my most mundane GJ post yet, but it’s an important one. For years I have been bothered by our use of tree-based toilet paper. Cutting down old-growth forests for this purpose is disturbing and non-sustainable. So we’ve tried to find the best substitute. At this point, we can recommend Silk ‘n’ Soft, which is 100% bamboo. It is $4 more expensive for the pack than tree-based TP, but the cost of deforestation is much higher. At this point, it is only available on Amazon (even their website steers you to Amazon) but we need to talk with our grocery stores to stock bamboo toilet paper Is it as soft and fluffy as tree-based, heavily-bleached toilet paper? No. But it’s not bad. Not bad at all.
I recently re-read the first six Trixie Belden books. I gobbled up these books when I was reading at age 10 and 11. I read only one Nancy Drew book. My cousin had a collection and I read about Nancy while I was visiting. I couldn’t see myself in her. But Trixie Belden? She had a large family and I was an only child. She was insatiably curious and didn’t necessarily listen when someone told her no. Reading the books again all these years later? They hold up. I found myself trying hard to solve the mysteries before Trixie did. I was surprised by how often the boys told the girls what they couldn’t do because they were girls. But the girls didn’t listen. More thoughts about the context of history. I’m grateful to Julie Campbell Tatham for creating Trixie … just for me.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the context of history in recent weeks, mostly in terms of books, but other people and events are added into those thoughts. When news arrived of Doris Day’s death, I was saddened. When I was young, her movies were considered family-friendly. The El Lago showed every one. Ms. Day produced good-hearted TV shows. She went on to dedicated work with animals. She didn’t have a smooth life, showing how effective the Hollywood marketing departments were. I’m grateful for the joy her work brought to my life and for the example she provided as an extraordinary woman … in the context of history.
I was reminded over the weekend about Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto, allegro molto moderato. This version features Arthur Rubenstein at the piano. There is so much of Grieg’s music to love. Enjoy!
Oh, the paths we walked together, first you leading me, then me leading you. You were the best mother for me and I love you always.
I am grateful for the writing, leadership, and example that Anita Silvey has been for my life. I have long admired her books about children’s literature, the excellence of The Horn Book magazine under her editorial leadership, and her ability to hold an audience enrapt. In recent years, I have been encouraged by her example of focusing on the writing of nonfiction for young readers and especially her books about women scientists. Her biography of Pete Seeger, another one of my heroes, is the best I’ve ever read. Anita is a class act and an extraordinary woman.
Have I mentioned how grateful I am for the school librarians who give their hearts, minds, creativity, and problem-solving prowess to the students in their schools? Last night we celebrated the years of librarianship Randy Klauk has provided to the elementary school students in one of the Minneapolis suburbs. From the way their books are shelved, to reading out loud dramatically, to the children who have been turned into lifelong readers, to his dedication to bringing authors in to share their work with his kids … Randy cares deeply. As he retires, we let him know how thankful we are. To all of the school librarians out there who lead children to the love of books, we admire you!
Some days (most days), I am in need of a movie that leaves me feeling like I can tackle anything and make it better. Steve and I watched a movie last night that left us cheering: The Kid Who Would Be King. A just-right film for kids, families, and adults who remain connected to childhood, it’s a superhero film without the modern cliches of cartoon characters or endless war or thoughtless carnage. Good battles evil with gratifying results. I am grateful for Joe Cornish, Patrick Stewart, and the young actors in this movie: well done!
In our office and in our home, we listen to public radio much of the day and night. Music provides the calm in our day and the joy in our evenings. I am grateful to MPR (classical in MN), KBEM (jazz in MN), WKHR (vintage jazz in OH), and KNKX (jazz in WA). We believe in public radio and public television. Our thanks to all of the news reporters, classical hosts, and jazz hosts for sharing your passions and knowledge with your listeners!
I am delighted and grateful to learn that Naomi Shihab Nye is our new Young People’s Poet Laureate. If you haven’t yet read everything she’s written, both poetry and prose, you have absorbing hours ahead of you. She’s a wonderful writer.