Of Books, Women and Prisons

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This summer, at my daughter’s suggestion, I started watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Pretty soon, I was hooked and binge-watched the entire season over the course of a few days. I was intrigued even further when I found out that this show about life in a woman’s prison is based on the true account of Piper Kerman (Piper Chapman, in the show), a Waspy Smith graduate. In fact, I’ve persuaded my book club to read Kerman’s book of the same name. (more…)

Collaboration

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Collaboration is a wonderful concept. It involves harmonious cooperation and joint contributions and mutual engagement—in other words, you’re working together. Collaboration is desirable when it comes to a doctor/patient relationship, co-parenting, and passing new legislation, among other things. (more…)

Have a Grand Day: September 8

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Do you know that the first Sunday after Labor Day is National Grandparents Day? This special day is meant to celebrate the important bonds between grandparents and grandchildren.

You can mark this day in whichever way suits your family best. Grandparents might give and/or receive presents. You might gather for a festive meal or make cards for each other. Be as creative as you like in how you celebrate, but I recommend that you let the usual suspects know that this special day is soon approaching. (more…)

Best School Supply: A Library Card

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It’s no secret to the readers of grandbooking that I’ve spent a great deal of time in libraries and value the services they provide. As a child, my neighborhood library—first on Devon Avenue and then later relocated to California Avenue— was special to me. Beyond losing myself in children’s literature, I needed (in those pre-Google days) the library’s encyclopedias and other reference materials for my homework (although one day, my dad surprised me with a brand-new set of beautifully-bound Encyclopedia Britannica; remember encyclopedia salesmen?!). (more…)

Little Free Library Comes to Sunset Park (and t-shirt giveaway winner)

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Our Little Free Library was officially welcomed into our community on a summery Sunday afternoon. Balloons, refreshments and storytelling helped make the inaugural day festive. But of course, books were the main focus. We stocked the library with books for children and adults; that same morning, my husband made a trip to the used book store and returned with an armload of beautifully illustrated children’s books, including Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, all in Spanish.  (more…)

Little Free Library—Chapter 2

Celebrate the Power of Stories

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Yes, I do have exciting news! After months of deliberations, emails, phone calls and a champion for the cause in their midst, the local Park District has approved my gift of a Little Free Library (LFL). I expect it to be installed soon in Sunset Park, a park with many family-friendly amenities and a natural, graceful beauty. (more…)

Calling All Young Readers

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The children in our lives enjoy—and benefit from—all the pleasures that summer vacation holds, but we don’t want these precious children to experience a slide in their reading and writing abilities during their long break from school. We can tempt them with books and quizzes and games and wonderful programs at their local libraries. (more…)

A Dog is a Kid’s Best Friend…When it Comes to Reading

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Like humans, dogs can wear many hats. They can be our best buddy: comforting, entertaining, companionable, affectionate, protective; they can also be trained to provide guidance, assistance or therapy.

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Here in north suburban Chicago, K-9 Reading Buddies of the North Shore (K9RBNS) offers a unique twist—dogs (and their humans) are helping children improve their reading skills and boost their confidence in academic settings; in fact, they’ve proved to be quite successful in doing so.  (more…)

My Secret Cooking Life

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Actually, I don’t think that my cooking tip fits into the category of dirty little secrets—no, I like to think of it as a good idea, or at least, an idea that works for me—but it does happen to be one that I’ve never shared before.  (more…)

Keep Your Brain Unbored

More evidence is now in, according to a possibly ground-breaking study published online July 3 in the journal Neurologytackling brain-stimulating activities from childhood through old age can help delay the onset of memory loss. We need to keep our brain active by doing things, such as reading books, writing letters and solving problems throughout our lives. Gma Ruthie and Max (more…)