The Warren & the World is Story Warren’s weekly newsletter, providing a round-up of our favorite things from around the web as well as a review of what was on our site over the past week. We’re glad you’re here!
We had a big week at Story Warren. The week began with our own S.D. Smith being interviewed about his book and our site on the Read Aloud Revival podcast. Check it out! Then, on Wednesday, we opened registration for our second Inkwell conference (coming June 20 to Charlotte, NC), and before the end of the day we filled up our spots and had to switch to the waiting list! If you didn’t get a ticket, we encourage you to fill out the waiting list registration. I’m pretty sure those two things were major contributors to the fact that our mailing list for this email jumped by about 100 readers this week. So, if you’re new here, Welcome! Feel free to poke around and make yourself at home. There are beverages in the fridge and the couch is really comfy. -Carrie Givens, for the Story Warren Team
Around the Web:
Declaration of Dependence
Renee Mathis writes at the Circe Institute about the value of dependence in learning. As we walk through life, having mentors and friends around us to help us along is often a huge help. As we help the children in our lives learn, we walk the balance of teaching them self-motivation and serving their need for dependent learning.
- To the frustrated parent of the 12 year old, the one who – once again- forgot the homework and didn’t complete the assignment – please hear me when I say that what this child does not need is more independence. He needs an encouraging hand, someone to hold him accountable. In my parent conference today I urged this mom to sit down with her son at least three times per week. Once to schedule the new homework, once to have a quality check to make sure it was completed, and once to make sure the work is actually in the backpack before Monday morning. I assured her that she wouldn’t need to do this level of monitoring forever, but not to be surprised if it takes a few months before it sinks in.
The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye (Retro Reads)
The folks over at Redeemed Reader have highlighted another of my favorite books, and I couldn’t let it go by without telling you about it. I discovered M.M. Kaye first as an adult and started with her “grown up” books. So when I got to The Ordinary Princess, I knew I’d be in for a treat. I read it in about two hours one afternoon, sitting in my parents’ family room, and it’s been a favorite ever since:
- Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne of Phantasmorania (“Amy” for short) is the seventh daughter of her royal parents. Blessed with gifts such as Wit and Charm from some of her fairy godmothers, a rather eccentric fairy godmother ends the christening by bestowing on Amy the dubious gift of being “ordinary.” Such begins this light-hearted modern fairy tale that riffs on the longstanding fairy tale tradition.Unlike her six sisters, all of whom have blue eyes, long golden hair, and tremendous grace, Amy has a turned up nose, mouse-brown hair, and freckles.
The Ordinary Princess is great for middle-grade readers. Read more.
Winter Does Its Work
Jen Rose Yokel writes over at The Rabbit Room about the lessons she’s learning about winter’s work as she experiences her first Northern winter–a Floridian transplant to New England.
- Blame thirty years of Florida living, the media, Norman Rockwell, or Irving Berlin’sWhite Christmas, but to me the idea of winter always carried a certain air of romance. Back home I loved the days of weather dipping into the 50s and chillier (Northerners, feel free to laugh at me here). Any excuse to pull out the cozy sweaters and settle in with hot tea and a book was fine by me. I guess I didn’t have much experience with cold. To paraphrase a famous snowman, it was more that I liked to imagine what real winter was like when it comes.When I moved to New England last summer, I quickly realized my homeland was a fancy handwritten invitation to jokes and pity and some variation of “Haha, poor thing, wait until winter gets here.” Which is all in friendly fun, but sometimes it sounded more like, “You, naive one, are gonna die.”
Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years
I happened upon this throwback NPR piece, shared again this week on social media, and found a delightful fairy-tale like story in the telling of the near-extinction of a rare insect in the South Pacific.
- What’s more, for years this place had a secret. At 225 feet above sea level, hanging on the rock surface, there is a small, spindly little bush, and under that bush, a few years ago, two climbers, working in the dark, found something totally improbable hiding in the soil below. How it got there, we still don’t know.Here’s the story: About 13 miles from this spindle of rock, there’s a bigger island, called Lord Howe Island.On Lord Howe, there used to be an insect, famous for being big. It’s a stick insect, a critter that masquerades as a piece of wood, and the Lord Howe Island version was so large — as big as a human hand — that the Europeans labeled it a “tree lobster” because of its size and hard, lobsterlike exoskeleton. It was 12 centimeters long and the heaviest flightless stick insect in the world. Local fishermen used to put them on fishing hooks and use them as bait.
Never in my life did I expect to be captivated by the beauty and delight of a story about great big bugs. Read more.
Around the Warren:
Rediscovering the Art of the Handwritten Letter
Julie Silander writes about introducing a crew of young girls to the joys of letter writing–a joy that has brought us jewels like the words of Vincent Van Gogh and the Apostle Paul.
- I shuffled through the pile of mail – the usual biodegradable white noise – that was to be skimmed and then promptly discarded. I paused. An unexpected, tiny piece of artwork was tucked in amongst the bills and advertisements. Elegant swirls applied by pen, not laser jet, adorned a simple beige envelope. A ragged-edged picture of hydrangeas had been carefully selected from a magazine and glued onto the envelope’s bottom right corner. It was underscored with words from Emily Dickinson. Words scribed from a lilac fine-tipped marker. After considering (then dismissing) my to-do list, I carried the unopened letter and a hot cup of tea to my “reading chair” in the living room. Far more than only correspondence, the letter had been written with great care and thoughtfulness. It deserved my full attention.
We were rather focused on Inkwell this week, so instead of allowing Paul Boekell to shower us with the beauty of art and words this Tuesday, we required his services for more mercenary advertising purposes. If you read his bio, you’ll discover that he can’t stand advertising and he really took one for the team this week.
Inkwell 2015: Story Warren’s Family Conference…WAITING LIST OPEN
As I said above, the waiting list is open for Inkwell. We hope that we’ll be able to have you join us; and even if it doesn’t work out this year, keep your eyes open for more incarnational Story Warren events as members of our team begin to find their way into schools and communities.Still not sure what this Inkwell Conference is? Here’s a glimpse:
- A day of Kingdom Anticipation. A day of Unbottling Imagination.And we’re praying for the same this year. This is our aim.Your children will be…
Immersed in Incarnational Art
Connected to Winsome Mentors
Engaged in Practical Learning
Shaped through an Inspiring Experience
Children will be grouped by age. Each age group will experience four sessions geared to engage them in storytelling, poetry, music, and illustration. They’ll have fun, they will learn, and they will be inspired.
Something: The Irreplaceable Saddlepal of Jeromer Romery
Something to Do with Your Kids:
Most of us, of course, are still playing #RabbitsWithSwords for our make believe, but if you’re that outlier family that needs to spread your wings and move on to new things, perhaps you might consider piracy. Not the kind where you steal movies–that’s not it at all. We’re talking here about the swashbuckling, treasure-hunting pirates of old. If you need a little inspiration, try these pirate crafts!
And Something to Watch
In addition to bugs on South Pacific islands, I found delight and beauty this week in the fact that someone noticed birds on electric wires were like notes on a musical staff and decided to play the tune.
Thank you for reading. We’re on your side.