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The Day You Begin

When you feel different, the world around you can tell. It shows in the fear on your face, the slump in your shoulders, the distance between you and others in your class. And the children around you will remind you how different you are with their side-eye glances and low whispers — and the way […]

The View from Robin’s Rocking Chair

Robin Smith, my wife, co-founded Calling Caldecott, and when she died last year, I knew that each fall would have me wondering which current picture books Robin would love most. The way I decide is to think of Robin’s rocking chair, painted in vivid reds and yellows and greens by Alabama outsider artist Chris Clark […]

Maybe Something Beautiful

On this Election Day (thank goodness we have early voting so I could Do My Civic Duty as early as possible), I bring you something completely different from the headlines: People Getting Along With Other People. Try that ten-second mindfulness training that’s been on the internet: Look at that cover, close your eyes, clear your […]

Drum Dream Girl

I love a story that I have never heard before. Enter Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, which tells, in the simplest language, the story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. It does not surprise me that I had not heard of one little girl in Cuba; what surprised me was that girls were […]