Monday, February 27, 2012

Aldous Huxley said, “ Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” Let’s prove him wrong!

Rules and parenting go hand in hand and all too often conversations on rules can easily sound like a sermon or a warning. As children get older they get very good at seeing one of these conversations coming and they tune us out. They have heard it before—and often they have heard it multiple times. One antidote to this dilemma is to use a story to deliver a message. A story can jump-start a conversation on a topic that becomes a genuine exchange of ideas rather than a list of do’s and don’ts.
A recent article in the NYT, “Time, Distance, And Clarity” brought this home to me when I read “ You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Appreciating the day-to-day little things right in front of you is a life skill. All too often, we pass by the special, memorable little things with the thought that we will “take it in” later… when we have more time. The truth is that “later” morphs into “not happening.”
Adults can learn from children who live in the moment. The Way To Start a Day by Byrd Baylor is a book that shows how the every day activity of greeting a new day can become a sacred activity. Taking each day for granted or welcoming each day is a choice we all make. Through few words and pictures, The Way To Start a Day show people all over the world greeting a new day with in their own unique way.
It is a book for young and old and might just be the book to get us all back on track for appreciating the moment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Diane will be part of Bring Me A Book Read Aloud Resource Guide Training & Symposium

Saturday, March 10, 2012 8:30am-4:30pm (PT)
Diane’s presentation will follow lunch. For more information and to register visit:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day to the Oxford English Dictionary!

In honor of Valentine’s Day I just received an email with selected poems for every relationship under the sun. As much as I enjoyed many of the poems, I was pleased to see that my Valentine Greeting, to the Oxford English Dictionary is one of a kind!
The OED recently released its 2011 edition and 900 words gained membership in the most exclusive 300,000-word club in the world.

How does a new word gain entry into the esteemed Oxford English Dictionary?
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) printed its 20-volume edition (which I covet) in 1989 and launched its Internet version in 2000. Entry is gained only after a word or expression crosses over into everyday use, says the principal editor for new words.

Here are a few of the newest additions. 
~ OMG!
~ Muffin top
- Wag
The 2011 edition finds the first graphical entry—The 'heart' symbol, which means love. — in the 127- year old history of the OED. Readers looking up for the word 'heart' will find the symbol listed as a verb meaning 'to love'.

I love words so my next Valentine appropriately goes to Andrew Clements, author of Frindle. The story is about Nick, a fifth-grade boy who is trying to aggravate Mrs. Granger, a tough language-arts teacher, who invents a new word for pen: "frindle." Mrs. Granger has a passion for vocabulary, but Nick's (and soon the rest of the school's) insistence on referring to pens as "frindles" annoys her greatly. The war of words escalates but the power of language triumphs. 
Frindle takes the subjects of vocabulary and the power of language to a new level— a “home run” book for sure!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Radical Hospitality

I just had the pleasure of working in Cleveland Ohio and I met the extraordinary idea of radical hospitality, a term used to describe the welcome policy of Trinity Cathedral, The Episcopal Church in downtown Cleveland.

I attended an evening program and had the pleasure of studying with some members of the church community along with their clergy. I am a book person and as I marinated on their welcome policy, I realized radical hospitality is what good readers practice. Readers, like travelers meet new characters and go new places and Good Readers have to be open-minded. A story encourages you to step inside the shoes of another person, commonly referred to as empathy. Books allow us to reach outside our own world.  I suggest you begin to evaluate the books you are reading by asking yourself, “How far did you go in your thinking?”  Nobody wants to live in an acorn!

All my life I lived in a coconut.
It was cramped and dark,
especially in the morning when I had to shave.
But what pained me most was that I had no way
to get in touch with the outside world. 
If no one out there happened to find the coconut,
If no one cracked it, then I was doomed
to live all my life in the nut, and maybe even die there...
A person who chooses to live in a coconut!
Such a person is one in a million!
But I have a brother-in-law who
lives in an
Ingemar Leckius

Monday, February 6, 2012

Black History Month has become a fixture in the school calendar year and consequently it dulls expectations. Red Tails, the movie that tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen might just be the antidote to that dullness.

Black History Month originated in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week. The month of February was selected in deference to Frederick Douglass (1818) and Abraham Lincoln who were both born in the month.

Red Tails: An Epic Story of the Tuskegee Airmen, a movie by George Lucas, is a fictional tale inspired by the true story of America’s fist all black aerial combat unit. The word epic is on point!

Whether you meet this piece of history in a movie or book, this riveting story merits telling and is worth talking about.  There are books on the Tuskegee Airmen for children and adults—and however you choose to meet the story, it will bring the conversation of courage, daring, hope and tenacity to life. Children today have not lived racism and segregation. It is imperative they meet stories that bring those topics to life.
Race relations are a work in progress and we all have a stake in furthering good relations. Knowing someone as an individual is a different experience from knowing people as a group. Each of these airmen had their own unique story to tell and collectively they made a difference in the world. Lucky for us—we have the opportunity to get to know them through their stories.