Monday, October 29, 2007

Your Grandkids' Opinions

I know that we elders are supposed to dispense wisdom by the gallon, but sometimes it pays to ask the youngest generation for opinions or advice. Later this week, as part of an intergenerational project being carried out by our Port Washington public schools and a local arts organization, Mark and I will be interviewed by fifth graders at a nearby school. They are asking older members of the community about any aspects of their lives they care to talk about -- a celebration, a difficulty, an important experience.

The teacher coordinating the project suggested that I might speak about my writing, but I wondered whether it might not be more interesting to the fifth graders for me to talk about the children in the remote hill village in Nepal where I have visited four times and stayed with local families. I asked my grandchildren -- who are much closer to fifth grade than I am -- to help me decide. All those who weighed in voted for talking about the children in Nepal.

Maika, 19, said, "I would say the kids would be interested in how children live in Nepal -- the differences and similarities to how children in the U.S. grow up." And Anna, 15, emailed me: "I would want to know where they live, the languages they speak, what they wear, their jobs, the average sizes of families, their hobbies, and what the landscape looks like." Lisa, 11, also voted for the children. So that's what I'll do. I'll take some photos along -- and offer to show slides of the village some time in the future.

And I'll please the teacher too. My writing does figure into this, since I wrote an article and a book about the people in the village. I'm looking forward to Thursday.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Wonderful World of Children's Books

Because I have always loved to read, still love reading kids' books myself and now enjoy seeing my grandchildren reading them, I was delighted to come across a great website and blog: childrensbookbag.com/blog. It presents reviews of children's books -- brand-new books, new versions of old ones, and beloved classics. All the reviews are written by a team of volunteer readers, most of whom are parents and grandparents -- and none of whom have any commercial ties to bookstores or publishers. Recent reviews included books specially selected for picky eaters, children with separation anxiety, and kids (and grandparents) just looking to have fun.

I know you'll like visiting the site and finding titles that are either new to you -- or that will remind you of books you and your children liked that you may have forgotten about.

Happy Reading. I'd love to hear about some of your favorite kids' books.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mathematical grandmas?

I just came across a terrific article by Kenneth Williams, a math teacher and author of "Fun with Figures," suggesting how we can help our grandchildren with math. And we can do it in really easy ways, like baking together and having them measure ingredients, checking a map or going to www.Mapquest.com to find out how many miles apart they live from you, taking them to lunch and asking them to check the bill and figure out the tip. I know my granddaughters are learning some math when they sell me Girl Scout cookies and tell me how much money I'll have to pay on delivery. Fortunately, they don't tell me how many calories I'll be taking in after I get all those goodies! The chocolate mint cookies are still my favorites.

To read the article, go to:
http://www.limeehai.com/156/grandparents-help-your-grandkids-do-math/

And let me know how your "teaching" sessions go.