Friday, March 17, 2023

The Light We Carry

If you have not read Michelle Obama's The Light We Carry, do find it at your local library, borrow it, or buy it. And, if you don't have the time to read the whole book, do get to the library or a book store and at least read Chapter 3 — "Starting Kind." She also does a nice job on explaining the life of "When they go low, we go high" statement she made at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Would versus Could

When you watch this Daniel Pink research-based two minute Pinkcast, you will get some simple, powerful advice when you are confronted with a problem.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Using Judgement in Life & Work


Great advice from Sarah Gardner in the January 27 Weekly JAM (Just A Minute).

"I think one of the things we struggle with the most is judgement. Judgement of ourselves, judgement of others, judgement of beliefs and ideas...honestly, judgement of life. It's important to try to be better and ask the world to be better but not when it comes from a place of judgement.

Judgement is born and bred from our ego. It's that voice in our head that says you have control over what is not in your control. It's the voice in our head that says you have control over what is not in your control. It's the voice that says you are not equal to others. It's the voice of the past and the voice of the future. Clearing the mind of judgement allows for calm and equanimity. 

Judgement is always self-absorbed. We judge because we are dissatisfied with how things are and we desire to have things be the way we want them to be. Remember: Life just is...we put the meaning to it."

Friday, January 13, 2023

Unstoppable Us — Yuval Noah Harari Talks to Young Readers

What a fantastic follow-up to his bestselling book Sapiens. Yuval Noah Harari wrote this book especially for middle readers and young adults. Unstoppable Us is written and illustrated to help them understand the evolution of humans and is currently number five on the NYTimes bestseller list for Middle Grade Hardcover books.

Here is a brief YouTube where he explains his newest book.

Friday, December 23, 2022


"The Voice in Our Heads, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It" is part of the title of the book Chatter—a book that gives a great deal of good information on how to deal with the chatter in our heads. View this brief interview to capture the essence of Ethan Kross and his powerful book. 

Friday, December 2, 2022

Five Mindsets

 JAM (Just A Minute) — the amount of time that it takes to read a weekly message that gives great, warm advice. Go to the JAM website to learn more. 

Check here to see a recent example of a great JAM that talks about five mindsets: Victim, Pessimist, Optimist, Realist, and Warrior.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Think Again With Adam Grant

Adam Grant is a superstar author. Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know is a must-read book. Here are a few quotes that just might entice you to get the book now:

• "It turns out that emotional intelligence is beneficial in jobs that involve dealing with emotions, but less relevant—and may be even detrimental—in work where emotions are less central." (pg. 176)

• "The power of listening doesn't lie just in giving people the space to reflect on their views. It's a display of respect and an expression of care." (pg. 159)

• "On average, students scored half a letter grade worse under traditional lecturing than through active learning—and students were 1.55 times more likely to fail in classes with traditional lecturing." (pg. 192)

• "When students confront complex problems, they often feel confused. A teacher's natural impulse is to rescue them as quickly as possible so they don't feel lost or incompetent. Yet psychologists find that one of the hallmarks of an open mind is responding to confusion with curiosity and interest." (pg. 199) 

Here is a great video to help you get to know Adam Grant.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Class versus Caste via a Middle Reader

"Class versus Caste" was my March 12, 2021 blogpost, highlighting Isabel Wilkerson's fabulous book Caste The Origins of Our Discontents

Class Act by New York Times bestselling author, Jerry Craft, is a follow-up middle reader to his 2020 Newbery Medal winning book New Kid, a book presented in my February 21, 2020 blogpost — "New Kid - 2020 Newbery Book Award."

Class Act is a terrific graphic novel that does an admirable job in helping students learn/understand some of the class issues they face in school and life, especially as they work their way through preadolescence. 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Three Important Words From Daniel Pink

Well known author Daniel Pink's Pinkcast 4.27 is so good—as are all of his Pinkcasts. His latest one which is 131 seconds long talks about "how to avoid overreacting to ugly problems and annoying complaints."

Daniel Pink has always been a star in my leadership and life lessons. I interviewed him in 2010; here is a link to that article.

Go to his website to learn more about his wonderful work.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

How to Win Friends and Influence People

 How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie was first published in 1939 and was recently updated and published in May of 2022. My first reading about Carnegie (via Wikipedia) is a wonderful story unto itself. Here is a sample of how this precious book works with emotional intelligence to help you win friends and influence people:

"In a nutshell six ways to make people like you:

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

2. Smile.

3. Remember a person's name to that person is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

5. Talk in terms of the other person's interests.

6. Make the other person feel important — and do it sincerely." (page 117)

More Dale Carnegie information at the Carnegie website.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Meet Author Jason Reynolds

In case you have not already met author Jason Reynolds, I read three books by him and cannot recommend him enough. What impressed me the most was his 2015 book All American Boys and how he captured the May 25, 2020 George Floyd disaster long before it occurred.  

This 10-minute video of Jason Reynolds being interviewed by Stephen Colbert gives a great impression of who Jason is as an author dedicated to middle/high school students and young adult readers . . . 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Understanding Bittersweet in Our Lives


Want an uplifting, positive book to help you in life? Get a hold of Susan Cain's newest book Bittersweet. In case you are not familiar with the word bittersweet, here is the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition:

"1) something that is bittersweetespecially pleasure accompanied by suffering or regret2) being at once bitter and sweetespecially pleasant but including or marked by elements of suffering or regret"Watch the TED Talk with Susan Cain — "Why Bittersweet Emotions Underscore Life's Beauty."

Friday, July 8, 2022

Can Children Appreciate Classical Music?

Of course they can. Here are some fabulous resources.

The book, The Carnival of the Animals is a beautiful rendition of the classical piece with the same name as the book. The book I received from Amazon is precious and is accompanied by a CD with a reading of the story and the classical piece by composer Camille Saint-Saens.

The book, Wild Symphony written by the popular author, Dan Brown, is beautifully illustrated and comes with an app that plays classical-like music that is composed by Dan Brown. It is spectacular.

Benjamin Zander helps us appreciate classical music, AND what makes his talk so inviting is how he weaves in classical music and children.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

I Color Myself DIFFERENT

 I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick is a fabulous NYTimes bestseller book in the way it reaches preschool through middle school children, helping them AND adults better understand families of mixed races. The fact that Colin was a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) AND was the player who taught everyone how to "take a knee" (Sept. 2016) during the playing of the pregame national anthem speaks volumes on helping us understand that we are all humans and should not be treated differently, particularly when it comes to law enforcement practices.

When you get a chance, view the Netflix series "Colin in Black and White"

Friday, May 27, 2022

The 1619 Project

The 1619 Project created by Pulitzer Prize-winner Nikole Hannah-Jones is a powerful, inspirational book made up of 18 chapters built on individual essays and poems to help us understand how humanity evolved in the US from when the enslaved people from Africa arrived in the British colony of Virginia to where we are today. Chapter titles include DEMOCRACY, RACE, FEAR, CAPITALISM, POLITICS, PUNISHMENT, MUSIC, HEALTHCARE, and others.

This PBS video with reporter Amna Newaz interviewing the author gives a strong overview of the book, its powerful message, and how it has been received.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Why Great Leaders Take Humor Seriously

Whether you are a teacher, a principal, a president of a board of directors, a corporate CEO, or . . . you will get a perfect understanding of why great leaders take humor seriously by watching this powerful TED Talk. In just 10 minutes, you will learn and laugh. 

This is the TED intro to the August 2021 video: "There's a mistaken belief in today's working world that leaders need to be serious all the time to be taken seriously. The research tells a  different story. Based on the course they teach at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, behavioral scientist Jennifer Aaker and corporate strategist Naomi Bagdonas delve into the surprising power of humor: why it's a secret weapon to build bonds, power, creativity and resilience -- and how we can all have more of it."

Here are two other humor resources I have previously posted on this blog:

"The Importance of Using Humor in Our Work & Lives" (April 9, 2021) and "Humor in Our Work as Educators and Leaders" (August 31, 2019).

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Gaining Strength as We Age

The book title tells it all: From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life by Arthur C. Brooks. It is an outstanding read. 

One excerpt that provides simple, excellent advice;

"Much more useful are the factors we can influence and that matter a great deal for late-life wellness. There are seven big predictors of being Happy-Well that we can control pretty directly;
1. Smoking. Simple: don't smoke—or at least, quit early.
2. Drinking. Alcohol abuse is one of the most obvious factors in the Grant Study leading to Sad-Sick and putting Happy-Well out of reach.
3. Healthy body weight. Avoid obesity.
4. Exercise.
5. Adaptive coping style. That means confronting problems directly, appraising them honestly, and dealing with them directly without excessive rumination, unhealthy emotional reactions, or avoidance behavior.
6. Education. More education leads to a more active mind later on, and that means a longer, happier life.
7. Stable, long-term relationships." (pages. 116-117)

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Great Reading For All Ages

My granddaughter recommended a book to me, and as soon as I saw the gold Newbery Medal seal on the cover, I grabbed it and gave her a big thank you. A Year Down Yonder (2001 Newbery Medal) by Richard Peck is precious and so well written. The facts that the prequel to this book, A Long Way From Chicago, is a 1999 Newbery Honor book; he has written over 25 novels; AND his books can be read by Newbery middle readers, young adults, and adults, all give much credibility to this fine author.

What sealed the deal for me was catching this three-minute YouTube with Peck entitled "Richard Peck on Reading and Writing." He nails it with his preciously astute recommendations.


Friday, March 25, 2022

Real Friends vs. Deal Friends

Check out this two-and-a-half minute video from Daniel Pink's newsletter. Arthur Brooks, author of the book From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life, helps us understand the difference between real friends and deal friends and answers the question: Why are so many successful people lonely?

Friday, March 11, 2022

Terrific Insights Into Regrets

 Daniel Pink has always been a star in my leadership and life lessons.  I interviewed him in 2010; here is a link to that article "Drive to Montessori: An Interview with Daniel Pink." His recent book The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward jumped to #3 on the NYTimes Book Review on February 20. 

The many many quotes he inserts from people from all over the world throughout the book are so insightful and supports each chapter in a humanistic, thoughtful way. 

Here is a link to Daniel in a TED interview talking about four core regrets that he presents so well in his book.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Black or White?

Toni Morrison's one and only short story that was published in  An Anthology of African-American Women CONFIRMATION by Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) & Amina Baraka (1983) is now a book on its own entitled Recitatif It is an intriguing story about two eight-year-old girls who spent four months together at St. Bonaventure shelter. There, Twyla and Roberta—one who is African American and the other white and from different backgrounds—get to know one another. What Morrison does so cleverly in her story is that she never lets the reader know which child is black and which girl is white.

What enhances the book is the introduction by Zadie Smith. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

A Newbery Medal AND a Caldecott Honor Winner

In case you did not know it, the book Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Peña and Christian Robinson (2016) received a Newbery Medal AND a Caldecott Honor. A very special honor that does not happen very often. The best part of this post is inspiring you go to your local library, book store, Amazon, etc. to get a copy of the book and enjoy what it has to offer children and adults.

Friday, December 31, 2021

On Cue Everyone, "Consider EQ Before IQ": Leading with Emotional Intelligence


Check out my recent article, "On Cue Everyone, 'Consider EQ Before IQ': Leading with Emotional Intelligence," in the latest issue of Montessori Leadership

Along with the history of EQ and IQ, I highlight three big considerations: EMPATHY, HUMOR, and TRUST; all so important in our work with children, educators, and families.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Helping Our Children, Parents & Educators with Media

Media Power Youth, is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting youth with media. Here is their powerful mission: "Media Power Youth inspires young people to engage with media in thoughtful and constructive ways that support their physical and mental well-being." Visit their website to get a full picture of who they are and the important work they are doing.

Take two minutes to view this powerful video by clicking on this link:

Friday, November 19, 2021

Learning More About Humanity


I am a huge fan of author, Yuval Noah Harari. He has such a clear understanding of humanity—where it has come from, where it is now, and where it is headed. His latest book Sapiens: The Pillars of Civilization, A Graphic History Volume Two is due out on December 21. Harari's popular books history follows:

Sapiens The Birth of Humankind Volume 1

Sapiens Homo Deus

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

His October 31 interview on 60 Minutes is an excellent overview of where he has been and where he is headed regarding humankind. You can also get an inside look at his brilliance in the NYTimes interview "Yuval Noah Harari Believes This Simple Story Can Save the Planet" by David Marchese. (Nov. 7, 2121).

Friday, October 29, 2021

Guiding us Through the Pandemic

As we make our way through this pandemic, it is so good to be able to pick up a book that speaks to what we are going through. In the brilliance of using dragons to talk about our psychology, emotions, habits—good and bad—Dr. Daniel Amen is powerful in the way he advises readers in his book Your Brain is Always Listening. He is a doctor who practices as a psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist and is the director of the Amen Clinics. He is a five-times New York times best-selling author.

Meet Dr. Amen in the TED Talk below.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Understanding The Importance of Serving Others


When I do my weekly readings for my preschool children class, I wanted to help them to be sensitive to the importance of helping others. With all that has been happening in our world regarding hurricanes, massive fires, Afghanistan, hunger. . . I wanted to help children understand how important it is for us to help those in need AND how it helps them—and all of us—in our own lives. 

I happened upon the big red dog, Clifford, series by Norman Bridwell and particularly the book Clifford and the Big Storm. Clifford is so sensitive about helping others who are in need, and he does such a good job. 

In case you are not familiar with Clifford, here is a cute 2-minute video trailer:

Friday, September 17, 2021

The Importance of Libraries

"It checks out — libraries are an 'investment that's well worth it" a 5-minute podcast from David Brancaccio of MarketPlace is spot on regarding the importance of libraries. Having spent many months working on the Building Committee of our local library and recently celebrating the completion of the library renovation have been such important work over the past year and a half.  The picture above gives you a quick view of the library transformation, but visit the Weeks Public Library website, and you can watch the beautiful 6-minute slide show to get a full view of what I am talking about. 

Town, school, and at-home libraries are so important!!

Friday, August 27, 2021

How to Calculate Delta-Variant Risks For Children This Fall

I came across this excellent Wall Street Journal article and want to pass it on to you: "How to Calculate Delta-Variant Risks For Children This Fall" by Sumathi Reddy. It opens with this paragraph . . .

"With the Delta variant of Covid-19 infecting more children, many parents are worried about how to keep their unvaccinated young kids safe as schools reopen and extracurricular activities resume. Vaccination is best protection against Delta, doctors and public-health officials say. But that doesn’t directly help children under age 12, who are ineligible for the shots. So parents must weigh the risks and benefits of fall activities like in-person school, sports, play dates and birthday parties."

In the article is a fascinating 5-minute video on "The Science Behind Why the Delta Variant is Spreading Covid-19 Faster."

Parents, educators, and physicians are working hard to protect children and students. It is important to keep reading and learning what we can about the evolution of this ongoing pandemic.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Inspirational Reading in Just A Minute


The Daily JAM is an inspirational writing that you can read in Just A Minute (JAM). 
Visit the website.

Here is a beautiful, recent JAM . . . 

“Teach Children 

We take our kids to so many practices - sports, music, etc. But do they practice being a good person? We are good at practicing everything but humanity. (Dr. Michele Borba) 

Children learn from us and from their environment. We need to make a conscious effort to teach our children that we are all one. Without even knowing it, we create our children’s unconscious prejudices. 

Our children find comfort in the familiar. When they see something that is 'different' they become cautious and fearful. As a result, if they see a person of a different color or different to them in any way, children get anxious and retreat. We often don’t even know it’s happening. 

Practice humanity with your children. Teach them the concept of ‘same-same.’ This means that trees, animals, the sky, humans and even emotions are the same. We are all connected and dependent on each other. No one thing is better than another. 

Teach them to look for the soul in every living thing. Souls are all the same—they are love and truth. We must bring more diversity into our children’s lives. Do everything you can to change your child’s perspective. Let them see themselves in others. “ 

This beautiful quote is a perfect follow-up to my July 16 post “Humankind: A Hopeful History.”