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Summer Travel

Kids' Book of QuestionsHere are three words that may be loom­ing large in your mind: Long. Car. Trip. You’re pack­ing games, snacks, an audio book or two, sev­er­al books to take turns read­ing out loud, and … The Kids’ Book of Ques­tions.

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid and we went on long car trips (near­ly every week­end), I read a lot (which must have been bor­ing for my mom), but the two of us also sang songs, talked over the week we had just explored, and, if we were head­ing to fam­i­ly, expec­ta­tions for behav­ior. But that only took so long.

It would have been great to have this book to delve into. Depend­ing on your kids’ ages, it would be a good idea to let fam­i­ly mem­bers browse through the book to pick a ques­tion to have each per­son answer in turn.

TKids' Book of Questionshe author, Dr. Gre­go­ry Stock, Ph.D., has an inter­est in life sci­ence, med­i­cine, tech­nol­o­gy, and dis­cus­sions about val­ues. He speaks fre­quent­ly at schools and on radio and tele­vi­sion. This book was first pub­lished in 1988, a fol­low-up to the adult ver­sion, The Book of Ques­tions. Now it’s been updat­ed to include ques­tions about the inter­net and school vio­lence and cli­mate change.

If you were rid­ing your  bike and acci­den­tal­ly ran into some­one else’s bike and wrecked it — but no one saw you — what would you do?”

What is the wildest and cra­zi­est thing you’ve ever done? Would you like to do it again?”

Whether you use them as con­ver­sa­tion starters, com­po­nents of a game, or just a way to pass the time, you might find this book a handy tuck-in for your Long. Car. Trip. this year. I know we’re tak­ing it along.

The Kids’ Book of Ques­tions
writ­ten by Gre­go­ry Stock, Ph.D.
Work­man Pub­lish­ing, 2015


Skinny Dip with Debby Dahl Edwardson

For this inter­view, we vis­it with Deb­by Dahl Edward­son, author of the Nation­al Book Award final­ist My Name is Not Easy and co-founder of the Loon­Song Writ­ers’ Retreat.

Debby Dahl EdwardsonWhich celebri­ty, liv­ing or not, do you wish would invite you to a cof­fee shop?

Anne Lam­ott. I feel like I already know her so well though her books that I would actu­al­ly feel com­fort­able with this kind of meet­ing, which is a bit out of my com­fort zone, for sure. Lam­ott seems like the kind of per­son you could talk to about any­thing — from your strug­gles with spir­i­tu­al­i­ty to your awful first draft — and she’d empha­size, hav­ing just dealt with these same issues like yes­ter­day morn­ing or in the mid­dle of the night last week.  

Most cher­ished child­hood mem­o­ry? 

Get­ting lost in books. When I was 12 years old, my god­moth­er gave me a book for Christ­mas. It was a book that had won the New­bery award that year and it cap­ti­vat­ed me. Clichés aside, I was pulled imme­di­ate­ly into the dark and stormy night with which the book opened and I found myself instant­ly inside that lit­tle attic bed­room where Meg Mur­ry was just begin­ning to awak­en to the series of strange and won­der­ful events. I remained immersed in that book for sev­er­al days. I reread it imme­di­ate­ly upon fin­ish­ing it. I sim­ply did not want to leave that world. I am talk­ing, of course, about A Wrin­kle in Time, by Made­line L’Engle. Enter­ing new worlds through the world of books are among my most cher­ished child­hood mem­o­ries.

Debby Dahl Edwardson and George Edwardson

Deb­by Dahl Edward­son and her hus­band, George Edward­son

Favorite sea­son of the year? Why?

Fall. It’s always been my favorite. I love the col­ors and the smells of fall every­where, even here in Alas­ka, where I live on the tree­less tun­dra. I love the way the tun­dra turns rus­set and the air tin­gles with the promise of snow. I remem­ber, as a child in north­ern Min­neso­ta, watch­ing the sky dark­en with geese call­ing out their rau­cous calls, head­ed south. And now that I am in the fall of my life, I love that, too!

What’s your dream vaca­tion?

I have about a hun­dred dream vaca­tions. Most of them involve ocean beach­es because I love the ocean and I love to swim. But one non-beach place I’d love to vis­it and spend time in is north­ern New Mex­i­co, the region where Geor­gia O’Ke­effe lived and paint­ed. I have a pic­ture of hers in my writ­ing room. It’s one you’ve nev­er seen: a sin­gle blue trail lead­ing up into pas­tel blue and gin­ger moun­tains. I want to go there. I love adobe, too, the way the red hous­es seem to grow from the red earth — and there’s a hot spring there, too: Ojo Caliente. I love hot springs. Above that pic­ture of O’Keeffe’s paint­ing in my writ­ing room is a pho­to­graph of her with the words that have pret­ty much become my writ­ing mot­to: “It belongs to me. God told me if I paint­ed it enough I could have it.” I am attract­ed to land­scapes that hold that kind of pow­er.  

Proud grandparents Debby Dahl Edwardson

Proud grand­par­ents!

My Name is Not EasyYour hope for the world?

That peo­ple will learn true empa­thy and devel­op, from a young age, the abil­i­ty to see the world through mul­ti­ple lens­es. I think many of the prob­lems we face in the world come from an increas­ing ten­den­cy to see the world mono­lith­i­cal­ly. This kind of inflex­i­bil­i­ty is extreme­ly dan­ger­ous in pret­ty much every way you can imag­ine. One of my favorite quotes is this one, from Wade Davis:  “Oth­er cul­tures are not failed attempts at being you: they are unique man­i­fes­ta­tions of the human spir­it. The world in which you were born is just one mod­el of real­i­ty.” We will not begin to find true solu­tions to our deep­est prob­lems until we devel­op the abil­i­ty to see mul­ti­ple ways of con­fig­ur­ing real­i­ty.”


This Vacation’s Audiobooks

Many have asked what our fam­i­ly lis­tened to on vaca­tion this year. We have recent­ly returned and I can now report back. We had a lot of hours in the car — Min­neso­ta through the Black Hills and into the Tetons and up through Mon­tana etc. And back, of course. Good to have three dri­vers. Good to have three stel­lar audio books.… more

The Ruby in the Smoke Audio-book

In our roadtrip/vacation van there are four very dif­fer­ent read­ers — dif­fer­ent inter­ests, dif­fer­ent read­ing inter­ests, vary­ing atten­tion spans, etc. In addi­tion to these dif­fer­ences and vari­ances, the kids are five and a half years apart. Find­ing a book that keeps every­one enter­tained and is appro­pri­ate for all ages can be a chal­lenge. Two years ago, The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pull­man fit the bill just fine.… more
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