Kids

Favorite books for school-aged kids

19 December 2018
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The books that kids read in grade school – when they are discovering reading and the faraway worlds that books open up for them – are the books that become cherished, comforting childhood friends. It was from my squishy beanbag reading spot as a child that I first experienced Victorian England, the American frontier, Prince […]

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Favorite books for tweens and teens

18 December 2018
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Starting around 6th grade age, it becomes hard to find books for kids. It’s hard to strike the right balance between the rosy childhood world of imagination and the colder light of reality. As children grow up, they become more aware of themselves and the world around them, and books can help give insight to […]

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Favorite picture books for kids

14 December 2018
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There’s something so special about writer-illustrators of children’s books. They create a world and then personally lead you through it, the way a singer-songwriter does with music. Well-paired writers and illustrators can make a great team effort too. But the product of multiple people calls for compromise, whereas the vision of one mind can remain […]

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Grand Canyon’s quieter east entrance

10 October 2016
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My parents avoided the crowds and tension of cities, so we rarely traveled to urban areas on family vacations, unless we did the Asian thing and stopped for a college tour. To their immigrant eyes, the wonders of America were not in cities but in the immense protected landscape of the country, unusual in a […]

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Summer hack: fruit stain removal

1 June 2016
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June is freaking me out. I’m a week away from being the parent of a high schooler. The two minor graduations we have next week – middle school and elementary – are reminders that in four years our household count will start shrinking. My heart hurts just thinking about it. It sounds silly that end […]

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The greatest city

12 May 2016
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I’ve spent more years living in California than New York, but because I was in Manhattan for my first independent decade – the years between leaving my childhood home to having children myself – New York City is where I feel most free and alive. I went to college there, built a career there, met […]

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When you get there

12 January 2015
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Across the finish line, I’m a little unsteady on my feet in the silence. The youngest of my kids started kindergarten, and the oldest just entered his teens. Our endless house project is at last over, three and a half years after it began. I thought the decade of my 20s was the rat race […]

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Outdoor school

20 October 2014
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I realize school can’t be fresh and different every day – goodness knows work and home aren’t either. But every once in a while the kids get a golden day – a break from routine to do something exceptional – and it reminds them how fun learning can be and recharges them for the regular […]

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Why I let my kids eat all the Halloween candy they want

31 October 2011
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Am I crazy? Or crazy like a fox? Here’s why I let my kids eat all the Halloween candy they want: Kids get way too much Halloween candy, and this is my way of getting rid of it early. If I doled out one or two pieces at a time, they’d still be hoarding a […]

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Pioneer day

8 June 2011
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From my elementary school days in California, I remember panning for gold-painted pebbles and taking a field trip to a local Spanish mission, where we learned about making adobe bricks from clay and marveled at how small the Spanish padres must have been to fit into such tiny beds. But for my school kids in […]

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