One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature

Friday, July 31, 2015

The gorgeous Lilly Library in Bloomington, Ind. has an exhibit on "One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature" right now. So of course I had to check it out.
It was wonderful! There are first or early editions of so many famous books. There's Madeline and Winnie-the-Pooh and dozens from the early 1900s. The exhibition goes all the way back to the 1700s with copies of Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe.
There was also a sweet side exhibit on Alice in Wonderland in honor of the books 150th anniversary!
So many of the books I saw, like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Little Prince are favorites of mine.
 I loved seeing how so many of the classic children's books included detailed illustrations. Each one was like a piece of art.
The books we read as a child seem to stay with us for the rest of our lives. Those formative years, before we become teenagers and crushes and gossip seems more important than losing yourself in a story, we thrive on those books. I can still remember reading Black Beauty and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH for the first time. This exhibit was such a lovely trip down memory lane and it was a great reminder that books provided entertainment for centuries before there were TVs and video games.

Wordless Wed: Smithsonian Castle

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Smithsonian Castle in D.C.
More Wordless Wednesday here.
Photo by moi.

Paris in July

Monday, July 27, 2015

Paris in July, what a sweet city to think about this month! I’m late to the party, hosted by Thyme for Tea, but have a quick book review and also a few thoughts on the city itself.

My experience with Paris began with books and films. It’s a romantic city, one that constantly pops up in literature. From the earliest books I read, like Madeline, to adult memoirs like A Moveable Feast, I’ve always loved seeing the city through other people’s eyes. Amelie, Moulin Rouge, Before Sunset, and Paris Je T’aime are a few of my favorite movies.

The first time I got to visit the city was something I’ll never forget. I was with a dear friend backpacking through Italy and France my junior year in college. Paris was the last stay in our trip and one that we’d both looked forward to. We saw all the big things, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, but it was in the quieter moments that Paris stole my heart.

We sat outside Shakespeare and Company waiting for the bookstore to open. When it finally did, I wandered through the precarious stacks carefully selecting a few treasures to take home with me. We bought gelato on Île de la Cité while listening to a little jazz band play on a bridge. We hiked up the stairs of Sacre Couer for a breathtaking view of the city. Those are the moments that made Paris come alive for me.

It will always be a magical city that appears in movies, but it became something real and deeper on that trip. It’s not my favorite city I’ve visited, but it’s one I would return to again in a heartbeat.

Bringing Up Bébé 
One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
by Pamela Druckerman

I was curious about the buzz this one received and since I’m pregnant, it seemed to be the perfect time to check it out. I went into it assuming that Druckerman’s argument would be that everything French is better. I was prepared to take that with a grain of salt and move on. Instead I discovered that, although she was living in Paris, she wasn’t a huge fan of France or the French. That being said, she was in awe of French parenting and the seemingly effortless success they had raising their children.

Druckerman approaches the whole subject as a journalist, not as a mother desperate to figure out what works. I appreciated her factual approach. She included anecdotes about her own experiences, but relied more heavily on what she learned from other French mothers. I thought it was fascinating to learn what cultural differences are ingrained in French and American parents, respectively.

There is plenty that I know wouldn’t work with my particular style. The sheer pressure put on women to look perfect as quickly as possible after giving birth is a bit overwhelming, but there were plenty of other things to learn from. I loved seeing how the day cares in France, called a crèche, work. Where American day cares have a negative stigma attached, crèches are the opposite.

BOTTOM LINE: Interesting and informative. There are a few parenting styles that I hope I’ll keep in mind as I attempt to find what works best for my family. I particularly liked the French approach to encouraging your kids to eat a wide variety of food and sleeping through the night as early as possible. 

Photo by me.