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?

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.

World Day of the Snowman

Today, 18th of January, we celebrate something so ephemere and yet so beautiful, a snowman.

The first World Day of the Snowman was celebrated on 2011. Why 18? Because the snowman represent the 8 and the stick that is his arm, the 1. And January because it is cold enough in most of the planet to build a snowman.

We were lucky enough to build a little snowman this winter, so today we celebrated all the snowmen in the world by reading a delightful book.

“Snow friends” by Christina Butler and Tina Macnaughton is a delicate, gentle book for young readers, 2-3 years or more. The illustrations are beautiful and bright and the glittering snowball adds a little glamour to the book.

Snow friends by M Christina Butler

This is a story about snowman, friendship, team work, emphaty, working hard to achieve your goal. All of these so necessary for the little preschoolers learning their ways into the world. Where the power of two or three is greater than the power of one. Where to give someone a hand in need is so much better than to just do nothing. Where they have to adapt to so much so soon. And, in order to be winners, they have to form alliances and real friendships.

It is also a book about beauty. The beauty of the white, frosty winter landscape. Of the stars and moon, on a winter night. Of the sunset. The feeling one could have after a day of hard work, when even if tired and exausted, can admire the result of his work.

But enough said. I leave you to enjoy a few of the books illustrations.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I didn’t knew exactly what the Twelve Days of Christmas are until a few years ago, when my daughter listened to a LionGuard version of the song. She asks me why there are twelve days of Christmas and not only one, so I did my research and found out the story behind them.

They start in the first day of Christmas ( December 25th), as the song begins, and they end on January the 6th, that is called The Epiphany. A religious celebration in the Western Christianity, the day the 3 kings visit baby Jesus. In the Orthodox religion January 6th is called the Baptism of Jesus, that was performed by John the Baptiser in the Jordan river. It is one of the most important religious celebrations of the Orthodox year and it is said to be a very cold day of the winter. After this day we can take out all Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree, sign that the Christmas is really over.

The song, that it is said to be originated in France, somewhere between 1500-1800, was first mentioned in a book in 1780s, as a memory game for children. The first child sang the first verse, the second child had to repeat the first verse and to add the second one and so on until the twelve verse. The child who would forget one or more verses would lose and be out of the game.

And because my daughter learned all the twelve verses of the LionGuard version, I though she has to at least listen to the original song too. Because, if not for other reasons, a partridge in a pear tree is more likely to be received than a rhino in a baobab tree. And legal, I believe…

So I bought her a very, very beautiful illustrated book, by Gennady Spirin, a russian painter and children’s book illustrator, bestknown for his depiction of the Nutcracker, The Velveteen rabbit or Little Red Riding Hood. He has a very unique way of painting and illustrating, using watercolors and colored pencil.

The book, called The Twelve Days of Christmas, was published in 2009 by Marshall Cavendish Corporation. The illustrations are so beautiful, is like looking at a paiting on each of the book’s page. The details, fine lines and colors are so lively and so gorgeous that it was a feast for the eye and soul to read this book.

We are still working on learning the verses, hope we will master them until the last day of Christmas.

Enjoy!

The twelve days of Christmas, Gennady Spirin

Welcome, 2021!

Yesterday we said goodbye to 2020, the first pandemic year in our life. And I really hope it was the last.

Today we welcome 2021, another unique year: it will be the only year in my life formed by two consecutive numbers, 20 and 21. The last year with the same characteristics was 1920 and the next will be 2122. As for 2122, I have no clue what will bring for the humankind. Or if humans will still live on this planet.

As for 1920, well, 1920 was the year in wich the League of Nations was created. And was also the year all the American women gained their right to vote. And what we know as mass-media was established in America, where two radio stations begun broadcasting in 1920.

In medicine, it was the year Band-aids appeared and the Spanish Flu pandemic ended.

In literature, was the year James Joyce met Ezra Pound, the writter who was said to be a fascist. Fascist or not, his influence was so big in so many writters of that time, maybe this could be the only fact to remember him for.

In children literature, 1920 was the year when “Gilda of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, the creator of the Wizard of Oz, was published. Is the last Oz book that Baum had written and published.

It is also the year the firs Doctor Dolittle book appeared, based on the character Hugh Lofting invented and wrote about it between 1914-1918, while being in the trenches fighting for the British army. After being injured on the front, Lofting moved in the U.S. and start working on publishinf a book based on the Doctor Dolittle character, the famous doctor who could speak to the animals.

In 1920 was born Christopher Robert Milne, the main character in A.A. Milne’s book, “Winnie the Pooh”.

Winnie the Pooh is one’s of my daughter favourite character, we have red all of Milne’s books, minus “ Now we are six”, that we are saving for when… she will be six, of course! Meaning this special new year, 2021!

Until we will finish reading it, I leave you with a few of Winnie the Pooh special words about life, friends, love and of course, honey!

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever!”

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day!”

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes”

“When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles”

“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love”

“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside”

“Could be worse. Not sure know, but it could be”

“A hug is always the right size”

“ Isn’t funny how a bear likes honey?”

Winnie the Pooh books from our collection