3 Iunie, Ziua Nationala a Bicicletei

M-am bucurat sa aflu ca astazi este prima Zi Nationala a Bicicletei! Este activitatea noastra preferata ca familie, avem toti trei biciclete si ori de cate ori timpul si timpurile ne permit, iesim sa ne dam cu bicla prin oras 🙂

Noi fetele avem biciclete mici si usoare, rosii si cochete! Precum personajul favorit al fetitei noastre, Lotta de pe strada Zurbagiilor. Cum care Lotta? Lotta lui Astrid Lindgren! Mai bine zis a lui Ilon Wikland, caci ea a imaginat si desenat asa minune de fata.

Acum asteptam cuminti sa mai crestem si sa ne inlocuim bicicletele mici de oras cu unele mai performante. Si apoi vom putea sa ne plimbam pe dealuri si prin paduri, departe de zgomotul si aglomeratia orasului.

Astazi nu este deloc cea mai luminoasa sau calduroasa zi, dar este numai buna pentru o plimbare cu bicicleta.

Iar pentru lectura de seara stiu sigur ce carte vom alege. Lotta, desigur!

The world needs who you were made to be

By Joanna Gaines

illustrated by Julianna Swaney

Tommy Nelson books, 2020

A few years back, my dearest friend told me the story of a celebrity who went to a very faimous designer/stilist/life changing type of person. And she told the specialist that she wants a change and she have to reinvent herself. And the guy asked her how she wants to be, the new reinvented her. And she said that would like to be like X public person and a little bit like that person and so on… The answer was: How about being who you really are? And I often asks myself if I am who I really am or I just try to please the others or to be who someone else needs me to be. Because we live among people and how they see us and their opinion about us matter, we like it or not.

I think that we prepair our kids to be not who they really are and we keep on doing that since they are very little. We compare them with other kids; our parents compare them with us at their age; we ask them what they want to be when they grow up and we also offer the “right” answers. And by doing so, we limit their options with our subjectivity and our own limitations. So maybe the best thing we can do is let them be who they natural feel to be. And trust them that they know best what they want to be or how they want to live.

The book is written in sort verses that rhyme and are easy to remeber and repeat. It is recommended for ages 4-8, but depending on the child history of reading, it’s appropiate for children smaller than 4 yo.

Joanna Gaines is a famous designer who, together with her husband and their 5 kids, had a famous TV show that she end it due to the excesive exposure of the family.

The message she wants to send to all the children of the world is that it is ok to be different, to want different things and to get where we want to go on different paths. Because it is human nature to be diverse, to have unique qualities and abilities. Maybe some kids like to work in team and maybe some are more productive working alone. Maybe some are very serious when completing a task and other like to tell a joke or sing or make a special sound ( my daughter does that) when they are focusing on a job.

And as long as we prepare ourselves the best we can, the journey we take is the same for each and everyone of us. And the sky, as we take the journey, is filled with all our beautiful differences! And it is a picture worth making and seing, because we have just one live and we must live it the best we can. As who we were meant to be.

Sweet child o’ mine GUNS N’ ROSES

Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

Jimmy Patterson Books, 2020

It rains for days now. It is not a November rain, but it got me thinking of Guns n’ Roses. For me, living in a ex-comunist country, the ‘90 were full of discoveries from the “free” world. Guns n’ Roses was one of them and somehow represented a break from the old and a chance for new beggings.

The book is based upon the lyrics of the song Sweet child o’ mine, wrote by Axl Rose in 1987 for his girlfriend of that time, Erin Everly. In the book the main characters are a little girl and her mother, who journey through life and music. The duo was inspired by Maya and Natalie Rose, daughter and niece of band’s manager Fernando Lebeis. The girls both grew up touring with the band, so the connection between them was always very strong.

The sweet and magic illustration belongs to Jennifer Zivoin and it carries us away, in a special place of joy and laugher. For me it was a very emotional moment to open the book and start reading the lyrics to my daugther. And to listen to the song and tell her all about that time when I was such a big fan of GnR. She liked the illustrations in the book and the song also. Because she likes to sing very much (she sings most of the time) ans she wants to be a rock&roll singer. And a pilot, engineer or mother… She cannot decide yet, but it is still time for that. For the moment we just enjoyed the book that gave us the feeling of traveling and freedom and carefree. In a time when all of this was impossible and everyone had to stop for a while, in order to protect and heal.

Eric Carle’s magic butterflies

From time to time the world makes place for a very special guest, whose life will be a celebration of beauty, joy and colour. One of these special creators was Eric Carle. The illustrations that he had imagine and drew, all the stories behind every line or contour he ever made, were stories of life. Pieces of his heart and playful soul. Because one cannot imagine The hungry catterpillar or see the world through The brown bear’s eyes if he didn’t have a warm, loving heart. To share with others.

I first encouter Eric Carle’s magic books when I was 40 years old 🙂 I know, a little too late, but it wasn’t too late to fall in love with his beautiful and colorful work.

My daughter loves his books, all of them in the same way. She learned to count with the hungry catterpillar and to tell the time along with the grouchy ladybug.

As his star went up in the sky, from where it came to brighten our world, we are left sadden and more alone. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t continue to cherrish his stories, maybe now more than ever before.

If I could ask him just one question, I think it would be: Brown bear, what do you see from above?

We all can show up and do our best

When I started this project, I knew nothing about blogging, themes or pages on wordpress. It still feels like I know very little, but somehow I tried my best to make it a place where I could interact with people that have similar interests. This need of showing up and doing my best was something I felt compelt to do. It was a duty, imposed by me out of respect. For myself and more important, for others. To, at list, show up and do my best.

My daughter is finishing kindergarten this June. She will go to school in September, where everything will be brand new: new teacher, new collegues, new classroom, new rules. A big, scarry unknown for her and also for us, her parents. It will be the start of a new chapter in her life; with duties and lots of things to do and homeworks. A place where she will have to show up every day and do her best because she will have no other option.

She often asks me, in a small, almost crying voice, if I will go with her in the classroom. Of course she knows that it won’t be impossible, but she still asks me. Is a thing she does, more like a ritual for her to be more brave in facing this big unknown she will meet soon. And somehow she is also morning the preschooler that she will no longer be. The chair she will no longer take in her actual classroom. The love she think will be lost in her kindergarten teacher’s heart. The memory of her, when all of her friends will go to different schools in town.

It is a process and her mind knows it. She cannot go over it or under it; she has to go through it. As the brave brothers from the book “We’re going on a bear hunt” found out, when you’re facing a big, scary problem you have to solve it.

I try to tell her the truth about the journey that awaits her: it will be hard sometimes, as any begining is; some days she will cry or laugh or miss me. She will learn new things and she would do everything to earn her place there, in the new group. She will not always be her best and she would sometimes fail. But she will try again and again until she will get the work done. Even if she hates not knowing stuff or how to do things.

And most important, I try to explain her that school will be her job, it will be her duty to show up and do the best that she can. And that she will be ok. I let her have her fears and worries, as one cannot tell a 6 yo:”Hey, listen, you don’t have to be afraid of the big unknown in front of you”. Because it is a normal emotion to feel scared. And to be excited and curious also. After all, is the journey that we remember, right? And the friends we meet along the way and all the things we discover. Because in the end every kid will learn to write and read and will certainly know the time table. So the journey is all that matters and we have to make the most out of it.

It takes a village

by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Illustrated by Marla Frazee

For the last 6 years, since my daughter was born, I asked myself often if the truth behind this saying is still actual. And if so, where was this village when I need it to help me raise my beautiful girl? Now I think that in fact I was strong enough to not need the whole village. But still it would had been great for her to grow surrounded by lots of family and people who loved her.

When I saw this picture book, already knowing the work of illustrator Marla Frazee, I though I would give it a try.

Marla Frazee, for whose who aren’t familiar with her work, is the person behind “The boss baby” character. And the illustrator of “The seven silly eaters”, a great book in rhyme that my daughter loves very much.

“It takes a village” has also beautiful, vivid illustrations. The message in the book is simple, as it should be, considering it is a picture book for young readers ( above 4 years of age I would say). That a child can bring a village together; that children need good exemples in their life, need to be surrounded by champions. A child, any child has to learn that in order to achieve greatness you have to put a lot of work first. And dedication. That all our children needs a playground ; to grow, to explore the world, to thrive. And it is our duty, of each person from “the village” to make the effort to build it. Can we do that for our children?

Siblings Day

On 10th of April, in US at least, is celebrated Siblings Day.

I don’t have a sibling, but as a child I wanted so much to have one so at 3 or 4 years old I invented myself a brother. When my kindergarten teacher asked my mother why my brother doesn’t live with us, I knew I’ve gone too far with my imaginary brother.

As teenager and then young adult I tried to have a sister women or even more. But somehow our sisterhood would always fall apart.

Now I finally have a sister girl. We have the same last name, we speak the same language ( too much sometime), we sometimes get on her Dada’s nerves with the same things that we do. We are two girls growing together, hand in hand. We see the world through the same lenses and we smile at all the beauty life has given us.

I reviewed today our books about siblings. We have a few, some or them are great children’s books. And the first siblings I wanted to share with you are the ones in Astrid Lindgren’s books. Lotta and her siblings, Madicken and her sister and of course, the children from Noisy Village.

Now is the siblings that went on a bear hunt turn to greet us. And Laura Ingalls Wilders characters from the “A little house” serie to present their adventures. The Aaron Becker trilogy , “ Journey”, “Quest” and “Return” is another opportunity to find out how the siblings we find along the journey can change our life in more ways than our real siblings do.

And, of course, are the siblings from the animal kindgom that we love so much: Martin Wadell’s Owl Babies and Ian Falconer’s Olivia and her little brother. And the ducklings from Robert McCloskey’s book. Or Hans Fisher’s character, Pitschi, a little kitten who, unlike his siblings, wanted to be something else.

I couldn’t end the siblings parade without Maurice Sendak sisters or Shaun Taun’s brothers from the “Rules of summer”. Or Judith Viorst’s Alexander and his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And the seven silly eaters that Marla Frazee illustrated. We have them in Romanian, but the adventures and the fun are the same.

But the most iconic book about siblings and the magic of joy and play is somehow related to Mary Poppins and the two brothers that were lucky enough to had her in their lives.

So, today will be a great day to hug your siblings, if you’re lucky enough to have them in your live. To tell them that the love is still there, even if you live on different countries or continents. Or you are estrange from some time now.

And if you didn’t had a Mary Poppins in your life so far, is not late to go out there and find one. To teach you that the sky is the limit for your adventures and discoveries. And all of your dreams. Away from the worries, viruses or problems. That will help you see the beauty you already have in your life and all the magic around you.

Sincerely, Emerson

A girl, her letter and the helpers all around us

By Emerson Weber, Illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett

Harper Collins Publishers, 2020

My daughter loves books! And she loves sharing them and their stories with her friends. Today she went to the kindergarten with a really special book, so her teacher will read it to all of her collegues. And so, I thought I could share this book with you today.

“Sincerely, Emerson” is a book about a girl, her letter and the people who have been helping us in the last pandemic year. This is the kind of message I felt the need to deliver to all those people helping me and my family, from the moment the lockdown came upon us last spring. The couriers, the trash collectors, the people working in the supermarkets, the ones in the front line. All of them were and still are my heroes. They all felt the same fears and worries as I felt: the fear they will get infected, sick, maybe die. That their loved ones will get sick or die. That you have no idea where or how the invisible little “enemy” will hit. Who says that the pandemy didn’t affected him at all, in my opinion, has a problem! We were all affected by it and we still are. And my guess is that the big side effects are yet to come.

But these guys, these superheroes, they had to do their jobs, every single day, as best as they could. It wasn’t an option for them to stay at home safe, feeling scared or worried. Or to work from home. They had to go there and do what was expected of them. Because they had children to feed and bills to pay. To have a roof over their head at night. So, in my mind they are the real heros of this pandemic year. And we all should thank them. Not pressure them to arrive sooner or demand explanations for little details going wrong.

So, dear all, a big Thank you from me and my family!

And now back to our book. Emerson Weber is a 11 years old girl who lives in South Dakota. She loves writting letters and decorate them and the envelopes she puts them on. Because she thinks that writting and receiving letters is more personal than sending text or online messages. The joy and emotion you feel when you touch the letter that someone wrote especially for you is so much more than reading a text on a screen.

Emerson became famous last year, after sending a Thank you letter to her postman, Doug. She was writing letters to her friends as a way to remain connected during the quarantine. And one day she saw Doug, her postman, picking up her letters and she realised that he was the one making that connection possible. So she wrote him a Thank you letter. Doug shared the letter with his superviser Sarah, who put it in a newsletter to all the postal workers in the U.S. Next week, Emerson received two big boxes of letters from postal workers all over America. They were happy that someone had “seen” them; validated their work and their importance in the community. And so, Emerson story became viral. She received more than 1000 letters and responded to them. She appeared in television shows and news all over the world! She even received a letter from her idol, Taylor Swift! And a small gift she sent to her.

And so, the real story of the girl who loved to write letters became a book. That has beautiful, beautiful illustrations and a powerful message: saying Thank you doesn’t cost a thing and only brings joy and happiness.

And we all should say Thank you more often, especially to those helping us.

I imagine that the story transformed in a children book will become a blockbuster movie sometime soon. If not, we will always have the book to remember us the most important words: thank you!

Prin ploaie

Ploua. Nu chiar cu caini si pisici, dar destul de tare incat sa am nevoie de umbrela. Pentru ca ma duc sa imi iau copilul de la gradinita. Ma uit atenta pe unde merg, sa nu calc in diverse “movilite”… Care ma tot intreb de unde provin, caci Slava Domnului caini fara stapan nu mai sunt de cativa ani buni pe strazile din Capitala. Uitandu-ma dupa movilite, lovesc umbrela de un indicator rutier. Mai merg un pic iar la trecerea de pietoni ma opresc in fata unei balti si astept sa treaca o masina sa pot traversa. Masina insa imi decoreaza frumoasa tinuta cu cativa stropi din baltoaca. Bine ca nu mi-a stropit si masca…

Imi continui drumul, pe urmatorul trotuar nu am loc sa trec, sunt parcate masini. O iau la fuga pe carosabilul plin de balti, pana ajung in siguranta pe un trotuar mai incapator. Soferul unei dubite parcate “pe dos”, pe trotuar dar cu fata spre mine, decide sa deschida portiera exact in umbrela mea. Il intreb daca nu vede ca sunt si eu acolo si maresc pasul, fara sa astept raspunsul dumnealui.

Mai lovesc umbrela de 2-3 ziduri pentru ca nu incape altfel, iar in fata gradinitei, epuizata de toate evenimentele ultimelor 10 minute, decid sa o strang.

O astept pe domnita, care apare vesela, echipata si gata de drum. In opinia ei, caci s-a incaltat cu cizma dreapta in piciorul stang si cu cea stanga in piciorul drept. O intreb daca e totul bine si putem pleca, imi raspunde ca da. O rog sa se uite totusi la cizme, se intoarce si ajutata de doamna educatoare se incalta corect.

Apoi imi ia umbrela, o desface, imi prinde si cateva fire de par in ea cu aceasta ocazie si decide ca ii trebuie ei, sa nu ii ude ploaia caciulita din lana. Pornim! Pe drum umbrela mea se izbeste pe rand ba de masini, ba de cosuri de gunoi. Copilul este tare fascinat de ea! Cu ochii in umbrela nu vede pe unde merge si se izbeste de un copacel… suntem bine.

Vrea sa traverseze, dar din cauza umbrelei nu vede daca vin masini sau nu si ma asteapta. Traversam, se mai loveste de cateva ziduri si garduri si apoi ajungem pe aleea din spatele blocului. Imi da umbrela, nu mai are nevoie de ea si oricum vrea sa alerge pana acasa.

-Si mama, de ce nu ai venit sa ma iei cu masina? A fost greu sa manevrez umbrela ta tot drumul! Maine sa o aduci pe cea cu Minnie, e pentru manute delicate de copil! Da?