photo by Flickr user Stargonautone
A young girl asked me for books about tornadoes last week. She wanted to know how they work so that she wouldn't be afraid of them anymore. Books can provide a safe space for children to learn about something affecting their lives and explore their fears. How many of you have used books to help children conquer their fears of monsters under the bed? Well, now might be a good time to break out the books about financial crisis, poor economy and recessions.
Over at Slate, there is a great short piece and accompanying slide show called, "Mom, What's a Credit Deafult Swap?" They suggest a few titles of books for your children to read or for you to read together. I've included the titles available at our library as well as a few more below.
Children are very perceptive and can get stressed out about the same things you do. Imagine how scary words like depression, recession and financial crisis mut sound to them. You can help them explore this topic and just like the little girl who is not longer afraid of tornadoes, your child will be able to bravely face the world knowing their family's cupboards will always be filled with love (Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary).
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney; published in 1881, this landmark book details the struggles of the Pepper kids who "are so dirt-poor they have to mend their broken stove using part of an old boot" yet remain positive and optomistic as they try to help their bankrupt single mother.
|Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder; this classic children's book was oroginally published during the Great Depression. People seemed to take solace in the extreme hardships the Ingalls family faced. Like Five Little Peppers, the kids strive to please and help the parents through the difficult times.||Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry by Mildred Taylor; delving beyond mere poverty, 10 year-old Cassie's family faces prejudice and hate in their Great Depression era story. This story won the Newbery Medal in 1977 and remains just as powerful today as it was then.||Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary: In all the Ramona books, there is an underlying theme of tough times. The Quimbys often scrimp and pinch, but in this story, Ramona's father loses his job. His depression results in tremendous anxiety and fear in the children, especially Ramona. Ramona gives voice to fears that many children today may have and shows us the inner workings of a child's desire to help when their parents and family are struggling. We worry about our kids...and they worry about us too.|
|Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse: In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression. Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1998.||How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor: Living in the family car in their small North Carolina town after their father leaves them virtually penniless, Georgina, desperate to improve their situation and unwilling to accept her overworked mother's calls for patience, persuades her younger brother to help her in an elaborate scheme to get money by stealing a dog and then claiming the reward that the owners are bound to offer.||Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor: Addie and her mother live in a small tralier with no steady income. Addie makes her own dinners with next-to-nothing in the cupboards and holds on to hope that things will get better.||Amber was Brave, Essie was Smart by Vera B. Williams: An absolutely heartbreaking story told through poems and pictures about two sisters who hold each other up even when their bellies are empty.|
|Spuds by Karen Hesse: Maybelle, Jack, and Eddie want to help Ma by putting something extra on the table, so they set out in the dark to take potatoes from a nearby field, but when they arrive home and empty their potato sacks, they are surprised by what they see||A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams: A child, her waitress mother, and her grandmother save dimes to buy a comfortable armchair after all their furniture is lost in a fire|
Add one 15 year old flapper, her opportunistic mother, a rabid tabloid press and an African Honking Gander. What does this get you?
Last week I was stuck in the mother of all non-holiday traffic jams-- Tuesday night repaving on I-95 northbound. For better or for worse, I entertained myself for an hour and a half by listening to the second presidential debate. Not a bad way to pass the time, but not what I expected to do during a trip that usually takes about 11 minutes.
The cause of all this craziness? Merging down from three lanes to one. You’d think by now folks would know how to do that in an organized, timely manner, but no. To find out why normally thoughtful, rational people are incapable of this simple maneuver, check out the latest by Tom Vanderbilt-- Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do (And What It Says About Us). In a recent interview he summed it up quite nicely:
Merging is the most stressful single activity we face in everyday driving, according to a survey by the Texas Transportation Institute. People who have done studies at highway construction work zones have also told me of extraordinarily bad behavior, triggered by this simple act of trying to get two lanes of traffic into one. Sometimes, it’s simply the difficult mechanics of driving — trying to enter a stream of traffic flowing at a higher speed than you are, for example.
Drivers, to quote a physicist who was actually talking about grains, are objects ‘who do not easily interact.’ But I also think there’s something about the forward flow of traffic that makes us register progress only by our own unimpeded movement; as in life, we seem to register losses more powerfully than gains, and registering these losses boosts stress.
Wow. If his theory sounds familiar, check out the financial headlines from last week.
So what did I learn from all this? The next time I hit 95, I’m checking the Connecticut DOT website before I head out. You know all of those cameras along the roadway? They record what the highway action is like in real time. No waiting for traffic info on the 8’s or 10’s (and praying they will say something—anything!—about the Connecticut roads), just live pictures of headlights and tail-lights moving right along.
Another option is to check out the Tom Tom One GPS system, a great resource for finding those less traveled alternate routes. Either way, you can bet I won't be listening to tonight's debate from my car!
Check out these modern read-alikes:
|The Penderwicks series
||by Jeanne Birdsall|
The Elevator Family by Douglas Evans
Judy Blume family series such as...
Saffy's Angel series by Hilary McKay
Check out these modern read-alikes:
|Kiki Strike by Kirsten Miller|
|Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce||The Enola Homes Mysteries by Nancy Springer||Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison|
|Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett||Lulu Dark by Bennett Madison|
|The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd||The 39 Clues by Rick Riordan|
For the past few weeks every newspaper, magazine, and scrolling ticker has been plastered with photos of anguished traders, scary graphs and complex analysis of financial instruments that seem more like magic than math. The current financial crisis seems unprecedented and unpredictable. Yesterday’s New York Times offered some perspective by examining the roles of two famous businessmen during hard times: Warren Buffett and J.P. Morgan.
The Times notes that “Comparing the two men and their moves in periods of market turmoil, just more than a century apart, reveals how much some things have changed over the years and how other things have not, according to business historians and finance experts.”
This got a few of us thinking about the history of the markets and the comforts of knowing that we’ve been in dire straits before and it doesn’t always end with apple carts and a generation growing up sharing a pair of shoes with their siblings. Several of you are ahead of us on this curve- when we started looking for books on the history of Wall Street, we found a number of them were already checked out. We’ve put what’s here on the front table for you to peruse.
For the historically-minded, there’s
Manias, Panics, And Crashes : A History Of Financial Crises
Bull! : A History Of The Boom, 1982-1999 : What Drove The Breakneck Market--and What Every Investor Needs To Know About Financial Cycles
What Goes Up : The Uncensored History Of Modern Wall Street As Told By The Bankers, Brokers, CEOs, And Scoundrels Who Made It Happen
House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty And The Rise Of Modern Finance
If you're looking for a modern take (and maybe a little schadenfreude) we have
America's Bubble Economy : Profit When It Pops
The World Is Curved : Hidden Dangers To The Global Economy
Chain Of Blame : How Wall Street Caused The Mortgage And Credit Crisis
The New Paradigm For Financial Markets : The Credit Crisis Of 2008 And What It Means
Crash Proof : How To Profit From The Coming Economic Collapse
Undue Influence : How The Wall Street Elite Put The Financial System At Risk
If you want a more explanatory approach, try:
Money, Greed, And Risk : Why Financial Crises And Crashes Happen
How the Stock Market Works
Or for biography fans, in addition to the new Warren Buffett bio, there’s:
The White Sharks Of Wall Street : Thomas Mellon Evans And The Original Corporate Raiders
Titan : The Life Of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
The Dark Genius Of Wall Street : The Misunderstood Life Of Jay Gould, King Of The Robber Barons
Henry Clay Frick : An Intimate Portrait
Read and Reread all the Harry Potter books? Have no fear... Your Library is here...to recommend...
Janet, Erica, and I had the happiest of experiences attending the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. on Saturday. The annual festival, now in its eighth year, is a day-long event and is a friendly and fun attraction for individuals and families. Despite the oppressive and threatening weather, thousands showed up on the Mall. We had a chance to talk with publishers, publicists, and authors. We chatted with Brad Meltzer (who'd been here to speak at the Library just a few days before), Pauline Frommer, and Philippa Gregory. We were also, as you can see, thisclose to Tiki Barber and Janet asked him a question during the press event.
It was a terrific event...unmarred...though may I say one more thing about the weather? See the photos below? I want to know how Philippa, Erica, and Brad appear untouched by the ravages of the awful, sticky day!
When New York Times reporter Lily Koppel came into possession of a crumbling 75 year old diary rescued from an Upper West Side dumpster, little did she know that it would change her life. The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal is a remarkable story in many ways and Lily will be here at the Library this Thursday, October 2nd at 7 p.m. to talk about it.
The diary is one that was kept by Florence Wolfson during the years 1929-34...5 years in the life of a privileged young woman (beginning at age 14). Through the pages of the diary, Lily became acquainted with a New York City of another time, and of even greater significance, she "met" Florence. The entries are filled with sophisticated musings, cultural observations, teenage crushes, love affairs...literary and emotional adventures and journeys. It's candid and frank, as a diary should be and what would be the chances of locating the author of the diary??? Well, Lily hired a private detective, reunited diary and diarist, and she emerges with a beautiful and full story, and a friend. Through her intimate conversations with Florence, at age 90, the brief diary entries spring to life.
Personal photographs are included, and the young woman in the pictures is unmistakably the modern, adventurous girl from the diary.
Come and join us Thursday evening and meet Lily Koppel and learn more about The Red Leather Diary. A book signing will follow the presentation and books will be available for purchase.
Refreshments will be served.
Hope to see you there! In the meantime, to listen to a brief interview with the author, click here.