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.

I don’t have political preferences and I try to see someone’s work through the lenses of performance, regardless of their political affiliations.

I always liked the ways Hillary Clinton presented herself ( posture, speech, ease of mind in public interventions).

So when I saw this picture book she wrote and 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 ceva ani pe strazile din Capitala. Uitandu-ma dupa movilite, lovesc umbrela de un indicator rutier. Mai merg un pic apoi la trecerea de pietoni ma opresc in fata unei balti, 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?

The atlas of beauty

Women of the world in 500 portraits

Beacause today is International Women’s Day and we celebrate the Woman and her beauty, I want to present you a book-work of art. It is a collection of beautiful faces, an encyclopedia that celebrates women, traditions, love, diversity, differences.

The author, Mihaela Noroc, was born in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova and moved at 6 years old in Bucharest with her family. Her father is a painter and she was surrounded by beauty and colors all of her life. And we feel that in the photos that she seeks and takes. The atlas of beauty started as a personal project, but soon her photos were a huge success and the book became an international phenomenon.

For us, two parents and a 6 years old daughter, the book was emotion! And love, warm, tenderness. We could see faces so different from the ones around us, costumes and traditions from 50 countries. That some of us can “visit” only by seing these photos. We understood that beauty is not about the standard 90/60/90. Ore the one promoted by mass-media. That a woman can be beautiful even if the has a prosthetic leg or she is 90 years old.

That the delicacy and the bond between a mother and her nursing child can’t be compared with anything else. That even if these faces are so different, they are equaly beautiful. Even if they are burned by the sun or pampered with the most delicate creams.

My child could see mothers and children that had another colour of the skin than hers. In their natural homeland, relaxed and happy. And even if she has a very strong rejection reaction for all kinds of “old”, she accepted to look at faces of women with wrinkles or white hair. She knows that her mother will age too, but she doesn’t want to accept it yet. She always wants to buy me a shampoo that she saw in a TV commercial to have it in the house, to use it really quick when my first white hair will appear. For me, to see her looking at old women faces on her free will was the greatest joy!

The three of us learned to see the diversity and not only to turn the page when we feel a discomfort. To understand that the exterior is the reflection of the soul, a beautiful, good and loving soul.

That traditions are still important, in some places in the same way they were hundreds of years ago. That the bond between a mother and her child is the greatest creation on the entire planet.

I learned that only when we are ourselves, in a warm loving enviroment, where we are happy and appreciated, we women are radiant and glowing. And that, no matter what, our children already think that we are the most beautiful. And today, on International Women Day, is the time to remember that and enjoy all the priceless gifts we have in our life.

Happy anniversary beautiful Woman, wherever you are!

Martisoare

Martisoarele suntem noi, cand le zambim celor dragi. Cand ii incurajam sa mearga mai departe, desi povara si frigul zapezii le ingreuneaza umerii. Cand le spunem o vorba buna si aducem din nou soarele pe cerul lor.
Martisoarele sunt puiii nostri minunati si inocenti, primavara vietii noastre. De care e musai sa avem grija, sa poata creste drept si frumos.
O primavara insorita, plina de oameni si aventuri care sa bucure inima si sufletul!

The way to start a day by Bird Baylor, illustrated by Peter Parnall

This Caldecott honor book is a tribute to the sun in the most vivid paintings. Is a celebration of the dawn, as each nation and culture from the cavemen to our day nations had honour it. You must face east as soon as the sun comes, early in the morning. It’s only you and the sun and the song you feel in your heart and you start singing it.

Some people bring gifts to the sun, others have festive celebrations for it. Some brings a new child in the first light of the morning for the sun to meet and know the child, protect him for the rest of his life. From Peru to China and from Congo to India, all the nations knows that they have to give something to the sun. The cavemen gave it, the egyptians and the ancient chinese also.

Your song, your offering will be one more in the world, will add magic to the brightness of the sun. The big yellow star will know you are there and will receive your greatings.

A new colour will appear in the sky and you will watch it and start your day.

This beautiful book, with it’s brilliant illustrations first appeared in 1977! But, after more than 40 years is still actual and still stunning. And it remind me to look east when I wake up, to honour the sun. Without it’s warm and light my life as I know it wouldn’t be possible.

Hugs

I still remember now, after 30 years, my mother’s smell when she would hug me, after a day spent apart. I am sure that her hugs used to calm me and heal my broken heart, knees or bruses.

I am fortunate enough to be able to hug my daughter whenever I want. And I can only hope that when she will grow, she will still let me hug her whenever I want.

When I’m not feeling well she would come to me and hug me, to give me energy.

“Mama, say when you feel energetic again, I gave you all my energy”.

And we have a special family hug, it is called “the love sandwich”. Me and her father are the bread and she is the filling. Somehow she just knows that this is what a good hug offers: energy, warm, love.

I found out a few years ago that exist a job as a hugger. You go to the hugger, who can be a total stranger to you, take all the good energy from his hugs and then you go back to your daily life. I guess that the pandemic made it impossible for a lot of hugs to happen. And it is so sad, to waste so many hugs!

Today we celebrate International Day of Hugs! So, stop whatever you are doing right now and give a big hug to someone! And if it is not physical possible, send a virtual hug to someone you love.

Big hug!

Of THEE I SING

12 years ago, in this exact same day, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44 President of the USA.

Since then, he did a lot for the american people and the world. He opened paths that had to be opened, even if now some are still desperately trying to close some of them.

He lead a nation, he educated people that wanted to be educated, he was the voice for the many who weren’t heard before. He was a commander and a force. The number one on the planet.

But, I guess, in the evening, he would still be the housband and the father. He would still had to listen to how the days of his girls went. Or the dramas at school; the gossips about a nice boy, or maybe two…

At the time I was amazed by some of his achievements as the greatest leader of the world. As I still am of his latest projects. But I am more amazed that he took the time and effort to make public some of the letters he wrote to his daughters.

He put them together in a book called “Of THEE I SING”, illustrated by Loren Long.

The love and pride he feels for his daughters is everywhere in the book. The care and encouragement he give them, not trying to impose, just guide.

For a man, even if he is the most powerful on the planet, to show so much devotion and love for his daughters, is certainly a sign of true courrage.

I hope the history will be able soon to put other great name along his. And for me to be able to read another beautiful sign of devotion as this book is.