Truth in Mom-and-Dad-vertising

April 6th, 2008

Soup du Jour:
Today , we look at a “clump” of books that hint at the possibility that parents are actually people.

The Grandmother DollIngredients (books discussed):

Suggested Side Dishes (related books):


Jump into Today’s Soup
(feedback): Join the conversation by clicking the Comments link below or sending an email to justonemorebook@gmail.com.


When-I-Was-A-Little-Girl Second Helpings (transcript of podcast):

When our first daughter was born, we received an album of children’s music entitled “Free to be.. You and Me” — an ambitious project spearheaded by actor Marlo Thomas twenty-five years earlier to break various stereotypes and to open children’s eyes, hearts and minds to the possibilities of a better world. One of the many concepts the album introduced was the idea that “Parents are People”. The song by the same name explained that every mom and dad was once a child and that parents have many abilities and jobs outside the home. I understood the importance of recognizing the humanity of one’s closest humans but, looking at my angelic newborn, I couldn’t foresee misunderstandings about my status as a fellow person.

Almost nine years and thousands of parental interactions later, the idea still seems far from radical but the need to introduce and reinforce the concept is now crystal clear. In fact, I would now see reason to add to the defining refrain “parents are people, people with children” several more phrases including: people with feelings, people with personalities, people with good days and bad days, people with strengths and weaknesses, people who struggle to make good decisions, people who make mistakes, people who experience conflicts and achievements. In short: Parents Are People.

In the thirty some years since this album was created, huge efforts have been made to help children understand themselves, their rights, their world and their feelings and to help equip them to deal with the feelings and actions of their siblings and peers. But, for the most part, little effort has been made to help children understand and interact with the people who happen to be their parents. Parents continue to be portrayed in children’s media as 2dimensional dispensers of privileges, consequences and humourous reactions. I think such representation wastes opportunities to understand, improve and learn from some of the most important relationships in a child’s young life.

Luckily, exceptions exist.

Today, we look at a “clump” of books that hint at the possibility that parents are people.

(more…)

 
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Thicker than Water: True Family Ties

November 7th, 2007

Soup du Jour:

Today, in honour of Adoption Awareness Month, we look at a “clump” of four books that invite us to stop and think about our own ideas of family and to share those thoughts with the little people who have made our families possible.

We Belong TogetherIngredients (books discussed):

Suggested Side Dishes (related books):

You can find more information about adoption at Moonrattles, an online community for tweens touched by adoption and fostering.Jump into Today’s Soup (feedback): Join the conversation by clicking the Comments link below or sending an email to justonemorebook@gmail.com.

The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy TaleSecond Helpings (transcript of podcast):

My first little sister died at birth. I was 2. She lived less than 2 hours. Our world came crashing down. But it was the 1960’s and within a year, my parents were able to adopt a beautiful newborn baby girl: a sister for me and as much a part of the family as any of us.

When our little brother was eventually born and we were all old enough to torment each other, the rules of (more…)

 
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Unfashionable Fears

October 5th, 2007

AlbertSoup du Jour:

Today we look at a “clump” of three books that shed soft light on social fears.

Ingredients (books discussed):

Camilla's New HairdoSuggested Side Dishes (related books):

Jump into Today’s Soup (feedback):

Join the conversation by clicking the Comments link below or sending an email to justonemorebook@gmail.com.

Second Helpings (transcript of podcast):

EmilyTemperatures are dropping, leaves are turning red and, where I live, front porches are filling up with skeletons, ghosts and spiderwebs. I love Hallowe’en.

No wait — I love the Hallowe’en season.

I love the books. I love the preparations. I love the way the anticipation pulls the community together. What I don’t love – what is absolute agony for me — is the main event. Trick-or-treating scares me stiff.

And it’s not the blood and gore, the safety issues or the dental bills – it’s the free-for-all of friendly interaction that scares me. I suffer from social anxiety so, (more…)

 
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Desperately Seeking Fido

May 11th, 2007

I Want A DogSoup du Jour:

Today we look at a “clump” of three books about longing for a dog.

Ingredients (books discussed):

AmigoSuggested Side Dishes (related books):

The Outside DogJump into Today’s Soup (feedback):

Join the conversation by clicking the Comments link below or sending an email to justonemorebook@gmail.com.

Second Helpings (transcript of podcast):

Our first child was a dog — a spunky border collie/black lab named Pepper – and we loved her.

A child and a half later, though, with me eight months pregnant, Mark suddenly “between jobs”, major home renovations underway and an energetic twenty month old to chase after, something had to give and that something, unfortunately, was Pepper.

There were tears all around when we said good-bye to our beloved pooch but our then twenty-month-old daughter rebounded beautifully. And that, we thought, was the end of that.

We thought wrong.

(more…)

 
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Unwavering Self-Worth Inside and Outside the Box

April 26th, 2007

Odd VelvetSoup du Jour:

Today we look at a “clump” of four books about independent thinkers who, without fanfare or animosity, disregard the judgements of others and are simply happy being who they are.

Ingredients (books discussed):

Jump into Today’s Soup (feedback):

Join the conversation by clicking the Comments link below or sending an email to justonemorebook@gmail.com.

Second Helpings (transcript of podcast):

In a society where the media, schools and, sadly, even parents often expect us to conform to prescribed, Suki's Kimonocookie-cutter ways of being, a common challenge for adults and children alike is to understand and appreciate out-of-the-box thinking or behavior in ourselves and others. With so much emphasis on conforming, being or even befriending a person who is viewed as different can be a scary and isolating experience.It’s not surprising, then, that we sometimes go to great lengths to reject or hide our unique selves — and to avoid those who don’t.

Many children’s books and, to a greater extent, movies attempt to reduce the social stigma against being different through boisterous victory-of-the-underdog themed stories in which the independent thinker saves the day and, to the rousing cheers of once-distant peers, instantly becomes the poster child of popularity. There is no denying that such victories feel great but I (more…)

 
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Welcome to Swimming in Literary Soup

April 21st, 2007

The role of childhood reading is often described in terms of a two dimensional plane. It’s thought to provide a foundation or, perhaps, a system of roots — something to build upon.

I’ve always pictured the impact of childhood reading as having at least three dimensions — as something that fills us, surrounds us and through which we perceive and relate to our world.

In a recent interview for the Just One More Book! childrens’ book podcast, Margaret Shannon, author of the darkly magical fairy tale, The Red Wolf, shared her view that everything we read becomes part of our own personal “Literary Soup”. I realized then that that’s just the way I’ve pictured the 3dimensional impact of childhood reading — as “Literary Soup”.

I believe that we each draw from our own personal literary soup when we create the stories we tell ourselves about our selves, our world and our lives. And, if the soup is hearty and warm and if there is plenty of it, I believe we can jump right in and swim around, viewing and relating to our world through the experiences and images acquired through our childhood reading.

In this segment for G.N.M. Parents, I’ll share with you my thoughts on the quality and quantity of possible ingredients for brewing up delicious, nutritious, leave-them-begging-for-second-helpings-style Literary Soup. I will suggest combinations of books which I hope will inspire, engage, educate and entertain and practices that may nurture strong reading skills and a love of reading in our young swimmers so they’ll not only stay afloat but will enjoy the experience so much that they’ll eagerly continue to add wisely to their own soup as our window of influence diminishes.

Welcome to Swimming in Literary Soup. I’m your host, Andrea Ross. I’m pleased to meet you.

Many thanks to:

 
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